Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Keeper of My Story

Tell Your Story...Anna

Once in a while, something comes across your path that describes you perfectly…better than you ever could yourself…

I found that very thing just yesterday on a lovely, like-minded friend’s blog…she graciously said I could share it here….

Gifts of the Heart--Velda

The Chosen

“We are the chosen.  In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.  To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. 

“Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.  We are the story tellers of our tribe.  All tribes have one. 

Farm Boy--Rudger

“We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story.  So, we do.  In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. 

Clasped Hands engraving--Susanna B. Vance grave {close-up of my 3rd great-grandmother, Susannah Benson Vance’s grave—I LOVE the clasped hands…the same image is engraved on her husband’s gravestone just next door…}

“How many graves have I stood before and cried?  I have lost count.  How many times have I told my ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us”.

Louisa Barnes Pratt grave with my feet, 2011{my poor, un-pedicured feet during a very emotional first visit to my 4th great-grandmother’s grave this summer—one of my guardian angels, I just know she is…} 

“How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond documenting facts.

Chelsea by Pauline's grave, 2001 {my oldest daughter Chelsea—years ago—by the grave of my great-grandmother Pauline’s grave…I started teaching them very young…}

“It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying – I can’t let this happen!  The bones are bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh. 

Sarah & Annie's hands on Susan Robinson's grave. {the sweet little hands of two of my daughters letting their 4th great-grandmother know they love her….}

“It goes to doing something about it.  It goes to our pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.  How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. 

My Fathers--3 Generations

“It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a nation.  It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

Brita Stina Anstrom Ostlund

“It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach.  That we might be born who we are. 

My Mothers--5 Generations

“So, as a scribe called,  I tell the story of my family.  It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.

Bobby Pin Girl

“That is why I do family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore memory or greet those who we had never known before…”

And so it is that I do what I do.  I felt this stirring—this call--in my blood when I was just 12 years old.  I remember it very well…

Stack of Heritage Pages, 2012

The heritage pages I’ve been making and sharing with you are more than scrapbook pages…they are stories.  Picture stories that will be bound together along with their written stories in many books to tell my story…

…the story I’ve been chosen to keep.

Stack of Heritage Pages 2, 2012 {most of the background prints & paper emphera on my pages are courtesy of Crafty Secrets}


I’m looking forward to sharing my books with you when I’m done…although I don’t think I’ll ever be done…the story goes on…

I’ve been quietly training three more Keepers of the Story for years now…

My Three Girls, Dec. 2011

…I think our family story is in very good hands…

Every family has it’s own unique story…how will you tell yours?


A Woman of Conviction--Vie Campbell

{“The Chosen” by Della M. Cummings Wright; rewritten by her granddaughter Dell Jo Ann McGinnis Johnson; edited and reworded by Ton Dunn, 1943, and, thankfully,  shared by Sandy of 521 Lake Street}


  1. What an honor to do geneology...and tell the stories of our ancestors.
    a sacred honor

  2. I can't tell what is more beautiful. The thought or the work. Seeing them stacked so wonderfully and each page so well done. Not only are memories captured and saved but made in the process. Such a gift...Renee

  3. I have always felt this call - in my family, I know I am the one. I've been faithful to the task, but I have never accorded this work the honour that it deserves. tending to make light of it, "just my little hobby". Now I understand that it is a calling, and I need to think of this work of mine with more respect. This post inspires me to do a better job of telling the stories that go with the photos. Thank you so much!

  4. This is just so exciting and so motivational to carry on and keep searching for my past....I love untold stories and the mystery of it all and uncovering the excitement.....Thanks for sharing, such a wonderful post! Xoxoxo

  5. Oh my dear friend...what joy in those pages of your books..your family is so blessed to have you honour their stories. You do such a good job!
    Hugs and love...and thank you so much for the blessings you always pass along to me in your comments. xoxoxo

  6. Julie you are the chosen one to carry on the stories of your family. How wonderful that your also teaching your girls.
    My cousin is the story teller in our family.
    She has taught me so much I didn't know.
    Bless you both for keeping the stories alive.
    Hugs Lynn

  7. Julie I have been reading your blog for a very long time how could I not,every time I come hear you share an amazing part of your history with us and for that I thankyou.

  8. What you are creating there Julie is a treasure that will be valued for generations to come. I wish I had the knowledge and photographs of my family that you have. You are truly blessed. xxoo

  9. Aloha Julie,
    What a treasure you've created for your family, you are so wonderful! Your girls are very lucky to inherit your wonderful family stories along with the photos and journals.
    BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog. I've added your name for the giveaway.
    Have a wonderful year!
    Warm hugs to you and your family...

  10. Beautiful post! I sometimes feel disheartened when no one else in the family is interested in our history. Perhaps one day, someone else will come along and appreciate what I've done ... so far. Another "chosen" one!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  11. I love your beautiful photographies that you share abour your family, I agree with you..I love stories of the past nad love the pass it on..

  12. Good mornin' pretty lady,

    What a beautiful post, and I know Sandy is so honored that you are using her family words. She is quite enthralled with her family history and I only wish I was half as able to do what she's done. I've always been interested in my own family history, and I have quite a bit of a collection, as well, just not the drive to do anything with it. My interest started mostly in high school when we were assigned the task of a report about our family's history in the class "World History." I was, at that time, able to find information about my family dating back to the year 1,100 A.D., and I was hooked. To this day, however, I have done nothing with what I've collected and I feel regret for what could be. I'm hoping my oldest daughter will pick up the torch and continue the journey. Thank you for sharing your family with all of us. Since so much of your history ties in with my home state and birthplace, I feel quite the connection to you, and I hope that someday we cross paths and get to spend some quality time reliving the past.

    God Bless, and big hugs,

  13. Lovely photos,lovely words, wonderful sentiments and a BEAUTIFUL post Julie!

  14. Hi Julie, i ve been reading your blog like...forever!I admire you so much,
    In my family, i feel like I am the chosen.I have this constant need to connect with my ancestors.I just don t know where to start or if it is even possible....

  15. What a beautiful post, and your three girls are gorgeous!!

  16. Lovely words as always Julie and you've made the job much easier for your girls to keep the story going by all that you've done so far. I am constantly surprised by snippets of family history that my 89 year old Mum tells me and hope I hear a lot more while she can still remember it all - then I need to write it down!

  17. You were called to be the Keeper for sure and you do such a good job of it. My mother was like you, she was the keeper too, I have inherited much from her. :D

  18. What a beautiful post! I have to say that I have read just about every one of them and this is my favorite. You are wonderful. Thank you for being our storyteller.

  19. Julie! You ARE the "spirit of Elijah" personified. Your zest for family history has always been an inspiration.
    Remember, when you were called to be in the Stake Relief Society Presidency as secretary, and you were only there for literally...a few weeks? And all of the presidency, I think, could not attend a ward meeting, and so you were asked to go, and a lady presented a lesson and within it she showed a book which had been found...where?...on a road someplace? ...I don't remember. And was it a book about the Plums or Blumes? ...And you were so moved because it was a line in your family that you had been trying to find information on?
    Maybe I have the facts a little out of whack.
    But, it seems these things always happen to you because you have always been so diligent to your calling.
    ...By the way...I LOVE LOVE LOVE your pages!

  20. Julie this is such a beautiful post. You do the most beautiful scrapbook pages! I still have all my scrapbook things but I haven't touched any of it for a few years...I really need to do something with my old family photo's. I have tried a bit of digital scrapbooking though. I am the keeper of our family story although my Sister in England (who I found out about in 1991)had done a lot of research over there. She is learning about our grandparents and parents through me and I'm learning about our earlier ancestors through her. I feel it is very important to pass this information along to the next generation. Thank you for this lovely post!
    Maura :)

  21. What a lovely and inspiring post! I have so many old photos and you have inspired me to get them together and make a scrapbook like yours. My sister and I have just started researching my father's very elusive family tree, but it has been so interesting so far.


  22. Wow Julie! Does that ever describe you perfectly. You do the job of recording and preserving your family history so beautifully, and are so fortunate that those who came before you were so diligent in documenting their own lives. My uncle did the genealogy of my dad's side of the family. He worked long and hard on getting as much information as he could and even created a book. He's gone now, as is my aunt, and I don't have any contact with that side of the family. Sometimes the past remains in the past, but I am so glad that you are able to share your family's past with all of us. Your daughter's are absolutely beautiful. Each one so different, but I am sure they all feel the same as you about being a story keeper. Best wishes for the rest of the week. Tammy

  23. Julie,
    I love reading the stories of your ancestors. You are so lucky to have so much of them left...the letters, photos, journals. So much of my family's history has been lost to time because we haven't had a story keeper.

  24. Julie, How special that you are telling your stories to wonderful young ladies that I know will take up your calling. What a wonderful gift that you have given to them and many generations to come. I need to start this with my own family.

  25. Amazing post Julie, I'm so glad I caught it! You will change lives because you inspire us to see and realize how our family history is waiting to be discovered and to appreciate our ancestors

  26. I love this post! It is so amazing to me how many people just stuff their family photos in a box and never look at them or make any attempt to preserve them! I am a huge collector of vintage wedding photos and I find them all over the place. I always think, why on earth would someone get rid of this! So I take it upon myself to give it a good home, I think I have almost reached 200, how many until I have to go to a hoarders meeting and say,"Hello my name is Cindy and I hoard old photos.." Keep up the good work and doing great posts like this one!xoxo-cindy