Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks for coming to the party!

Farewell, wonderful guests.  I hope you've enjoyed getting to know our birthday boys and girls this year!  All of your gifts and comments were greatly appreciated.

Which ancestor are you most excited to meet someday and why?
(and what questions will you ask them?)

Which one means the most to you personally?

photo credit Liz Hansen

"Just ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. For we were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old."  Job 8:8-10 (NLT)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Party Cleanup: Uploading the Cedar Chest

One of my next projects (possibly not until I'm further along in my Archival Studies MLIS degree) will be creating a "virtual cedar chest" website, highlighting each family artifact on a blog with ownership and location information so everyone in the family knows what’s hiding in grandma’s attic. Here's why this is important...

Artifact and Memory in the Digital Age
(adapted from a presentation I gave in August 2011 as an Exponent panelist on Mormon Women and Material Culture, now available in a book here)

I find it fascinating that two of my pioneer ancestors whose stories and lives are best known to the family are the same two for whom we have physical heirlooms. Is Mary Sorensen remembered for her exciting pioneer stories because her sampler hangs at my aunt’s house and her stories get told upon seeing it, or did Mary’s wonderful experiences cause her descendants to preserve the sampler? Does seeing Elizabeth Fox’s treasured plate brought from England displayed on my grandmother’s shelf remind us of Elizabeth’s sacrifices and life, or did the plate get saved to remember Elizabeth’s story? And for the ancestral women for whom I have no physical evidence, how does that impact my relationship to them and to telling their story? As a de facto family historian and curator, examining these questions has helped me better understand and undertake my obligations to share these heirlooms and lives with others in a virtual world.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011