When I present at conferences and teach students with primary sources eventually an adult will say, "Well, you can do this because you have so many primary sources, and I do not."
Right now lurking somewhere in your homes or online or in safety deposit boxes or languishing in your parents' home are a harvest of primary and secondary sources about you. Let's see what I can list that might be there:
Baby pictures Birth certificates First hair cut lock Baby clothes
School photos Report cards Sports awards School awards
Programs Newspapers Church records Momentos
Licenses Pay records ID badges Your essays
Art work Social media Photographs Online blogs
Trophies Certificates Alblums Online photos
Mention anything else you think of in the comments, okay?
Fact: we all leave a trail of clues about our lives from which our descendants will try to piece together informaion about us. And where is that stuff? In a file box or cabinet, under the stairs, in the back of the closet or in that old suticase. Really, it's there.
What about your ancestors? Where are their items? We need to discover them quickly before someone accidently discards them.
One of my favorite feature stories appeared in our local newspaper last year. A young woman was given her grandfather's trunk ten years prior, right after his funeral. It was a lovely trunk that she was glad to receive in remembrance of him. She did not open it for ten years. Inside were the artifacts of his military life during World War II, and many other items of the era. Imagine the awe and reverence in which she touched and examined each item, the closeness that she felt with him upon opening the lid.
Somewhere there is material about your ancestors. Ask the elfder people in your family. But don't forget to peek under your own stairs.
Priceless Memorabilia: Family finds trove of patriarch's keepsakes
I am a Family History Center Director, former young adult librarian, researcher and avid family historian. I believe that deep reading of primary sources divulge amazing results.