It should be clear from the explosion in interest in genealogy and sites like Ancestry, that there is a deep seated desire for people to know more about their pasts, to better understand where they came from. People want to understand who they really are, and how they fit into the world.
They will spend hours online, searching for the smallest scrap of family hisory, a photo, a marriage listing, a birth certificate, or an immigration record. How much do these things really say about the people they refer to? About their lives, thoughts, knowledge, hopes and fears?
A century or so ago, people did have a bit more of an excuse for not having left much of a traceable footprint. Photographs were expensive, letters, diaries or journals and such things could be easily lost, disposed of or destroyed (how did we ever manage before e-mail when we actually had to write a letter, put a stamp on it and wait a week for a reply!)
In todays world of technology, there’s really not much of an excuse. Practically everyone from teenage years to old age now has some form of mobile device, with which pictures can be taken and sent instantly around the world. Cloud based services mean that mass data storage is cheap and easily accessed so there’s no reason for a written history to ever go missing again.
Think again about the person currently using a genealogy website to find out how they fit into the world. Now imagine that it’s your own child, or grandchild or beyond. Would you want all they find of you to be a photo or two, or maybe even to bring things up to date, your twitter or Facebook postings? Or would you rather them have a proper journal of your life, experiences, knowledge and feelings to help guide them, and to help them to truly know and understand you?
Even today, children have a world of questions about their parents when they were growing up, and the social history behind it (what WAS life really like without e-mail, or when there was no such thing as an answerphone, never mind a cell phone?!). Unfortunately as hard as we might try, there’s not always the right opportunity to handle these questions in full when they are asked, so wouldn’t it be great to have a forum where the kids could find out all about their parents, and receive guidance and life lessons in their own time? Even ask the questions that they might be too embarrassed to ask in person?
That’s really what GenForward is about. Taking hold of our responsibility to our own children, and our children’s children and beyond, to leave behind the lessons of our lifetime. There is no greater gift to a future generation than to have the knowledge of a lifetime or more put at their disposal at a young age. To increase exponentially their chances of making the right choices the first time. To avoid having to learn “The Hard Way” every time, and to put their own experiences in better context, in order to help better cope with what life has thrown at them.
There’s a saying that “Life is unfair because it gives you the test first and then you learn the answers afterwards”. It doesn’t need to be that way. With GenForward, you can help your future generations cheat by giving them the answers to the questions that their life has not yet seen fit to ask them.