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One of the things I learned while doing our family tree was the fact that records are very important for years to come. The records that we, thanks to Rena’s hard work of translating Italian, received from Italy were wonderful and proved the importance of both birth and death records. One of the things that struck me was how important the woman’s family names were. Because the women married, it didn’t mean they gave up their family identity simply to take on another by taking on their husband’s name, as we do here in the states, most of the time. Therefore, it was easy to read a birth or death certificate and know maiden names back to grandmothers and great-grandmothers; tracing back generations of names on both sides of the mother and father. That is why, if you are interested in genealogy, birth announcements and death or obituary notices are important. But they must be done correctly and accurately. Oh yes, so are tombstones and making sure the dates are correct. At any rate, the thing that brought all these thoughts together for me was in the past week or so I read an obituary of a man whose mother’s name was left off of his obituary. As silly as it may sound when they put the man’s father’s name in they put his place of business where the man’s mother’s name belonged. It was totally weird. The man’s mother would have been crushed for she was the backbone of the family and what a horrid blunder. Even though friend writer Ken has written a 300-page manuscript about my life, which he calls my obituary; I’ve decided that I’m going to take time to write “The Farmer’s” and my obituary. I want a lot of names in our obituaries. I don’t only want the maiden name of my mother, but also my grandmother. I also want the maiden names of the father’s and grandfather’s parents. The first thing “The Farmer” and I read in our daily paper are the obituaries. As a matter of fact, I especially read the long obituaries and I always feel those peoples lives are so interesting that I would have liked to know them and do a featured article about them. When there is a long obituary, I always feel that the person in it finally got their last hurrah and now they can rest in peace. When I talked to Cousin Leo last week, I asked him if he had written his obituary. Cousin Leo is in his mid -90s, is in excellent shape, lives alone, has been a bachelor all his life and is the last of his immediate clan. He asked why he would do that. I tell him it is important for the recording of our family tree. I offered to write it for him or to have my friend do it, but he said no. I think he is beginning to see it is important. They who know about genealogy tell me it is important to have two avenues of proof concerning the birth and death of a person. If you can’t get the actual certificate, a photo of the tombstone, the obituary in the newspaper or even a prayer card will work. We have taken pictures of tombstones in the different cemeteries where relatives are buried including the stones in Fanano, Italy. Because we have a famous second or third cousin twice removed (or something like that) and because they traced his tree back to the 1500, we were lucky to be able to go back that far on that side of the family. It just dawned on me that we didn’t take any pictures of the tombstones in Centralia, where my mother’s family is buried. I’ll have to ask Aunt Illeen to have her kids take some and send them to me so I can add them to my mother’s side of the tree. Make out your own obituary, make a game out of it, let everyone know how you survived this life on earth. Sometimes it’s a real challenge. And don’t forget your mother. Ciao!
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