Do Write

Do Write
by Cal Olgilvie

I am an advocate for people with the time and desire to write their life story for posterity. No one will write your story like you can. I might add the things you remember and relive as you write will surprise you.

Have you ever been to a cemetery looking for family history? When looking for our family connections Edith and I visited several cemeteries. We found headstones and monuments dating back to the early seventeen hundreds. These stones come in many sizes and shapes weighing from a few pounds to several tons. The ones made of granite are the most recent stones and their inscriptions were most easily read. The most popular colours for granite stones are black and grey followed by granite with a bluish tint, a pinkish brown appears to have been popular a few years ago.

All these stones have certain things in common. There isn’t much room on them to record family history so about all one can learn is the deceased’s name, birth and death dates. When there is an epitaph it is just enough to make you want to know more.

I haven’t seen it on a stone yet but it might be a good place to refer people to

This then is one good reason for us to pass on a record of our family history. Future generations may want answers to the same questions we do. What were our relatives like? What were they famous for? Were they horse thieves? Did the men beat their wives? Were they wise and witty and did they enjoy life? Were they people of faith who’s lives were adorned by good works? One can tell by the size of a stone that some were rich while more modest stones may indicate they were less wealthy or had other priorities.

There has been a yearning in my heart for years to know more about my ancestors who passed life onto me.

Nothing can be done to rectify the past, nor should we fault our ancestors for not leaving a record of their family history. Most were probably more preoccupied with making a living than in leaving a long hand written record about themselves and their  families.

Today we live in the golden age of computers and I have found out to my surprise that I have a few friends who have already written or are writing their autobiographies. This will be a blessing to future generations and family and friends around us today.

Let us break the cycle of silence hidden between birth and death dates etched on a tombstone. Our family history can be a positive influence long after our graves and markers have been forgotten. Do write, and enjoy doing it!

Retired senior NCO Flight Simulator Technician and small businessman Cal Olgilvie grew up on a farm in Nova Scotia. He hopes to publish a book called Down East On The Farm about his life. Cal loves flowers, nature, and now that he has time, playing golf and making new friends.