Monday, July 25, 2005

Book of Baby's Lineage

While you are thinking of things that your new baby will need, especially if you are a first time parent, there may be an item that is overlooked very often. Most new parents buy or are given a baby record book as a gift. There is usually space for the baby's grandparents and sometimes even great grandparents, but it is always a good idea to start a separate book of the baby's family tree.

One reason why it is important to do this while the baby is still so young is that you will be able to get information and ask questions of family members who may not have as good of a memory when the baby is old enough to want to work on his or her genealogy or need to do such a project for school as many classrooms are doing these days.

The baby's great Aunt Grace may have wonderful stories about the family or the baby's grandparent from decades ago and she may have family recipes that could have been lost forever if you would not be asking her now for the baby's book of lineage.

Interview people or simply ask a few questions when you are visiting, attending a family reunion, or when they come to see the new baby. Tell them that you are going to be writing the answers down and even use a micro cassette recorder if they do not mind. As a side note, it is a great idea to have one of those small recorders around for capturing baby's sounds and baby's talking in a year or so. You will find yourself using the recorder often over the years when the baby is growing up and talking a mile a minute, singing, playing a musical instrument, or reciting poetry.

Don't forget to interview the baby's grandparents and get as many anecdotes, recipes, family stories, and life advice for baby as you possibly can. Hopefully the grandparents will be in the baby's life for a very long time and he will get to know and love them well into adulthood, but often things are not so ideal. More often, however, stories and family traditions will be lost more and more as the years go by.

Ask any and all questions that you can think of concerning things you would like the baby to know about his family tree when he is old enough to appreciate the information. Write it all into some kind of journal or notebook that will stand the test of time. Remember to add stories and facts about yourself, too, and the other parent. Keep the book or journal within reach at all times so that if you remember something else to add or hear grandma talking about the way old Uncle Gus always sang Jingle Bells while milking the cows, you will be able to write it down right away.

A book or journal as a companion to the micro cassette is the best idea. Tapes can get worn and torn over the years, so the main idea in using that is to capture what is being said so you can write it down. Having it on tape in the interviewee's voice is an added bonus, but the tape may very well be worthless if it gets torn, while the journal will last much longer.