October is important to family historians for several reasons

I live in the U.S. so this is from that viewpoint. It’s amazing to see how many different days and months are celebrated around the world.

For me, the best is October 4th when I will celebrate what would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary.  That’s important to my family history.  I have a few challenges below for other October designations.

October is Family History Month. This is an easy one to challenge each other about. We need to do some intensive family history research this month.  Alternately, review some material that you gathered a few years ago. What clues did you miss?

October is also American Archives Month. I have two challenges for this.

  • Spend some time investigating the state archives website for one of your ancestral states. Is there a catalog, online finding aids to collections, are any records digitized, does the archive encompass more than state and county records?
  • Spend at least a day researching at a county or state archive. Family history gems await you. Most of the material in these great repositories is not online.

October 9 is Columbus Day to some. However, I choose to celebrate the date as Native Americans’ Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Several states and cities now call this day by one of those names to honor those who originally lived on the land we now call the U.S. The challenge for this day is to learn more about the history of treaties, invaders, soldiers, and others that took the land from them. The U.S. National Archives, historical societies, and many publications are full of the sad details.  Original military, missionary, and Bureau of Indian Affairs records are full of prejudicial comments and details.

For me, Family History month encompasses all of the above and I wish for everyone to learn more about their personal ancestry, religions of our ancestors, countries of origin, and DNA. We will thus learn that we are all humans who need to behave better toward each other because we are all made up of so many parts and many of our parts match each other!


© 2017, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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