My History Is America’s History
One of the best tools for accomplishing this is to use a guidebook such as “My History Is America’s History.” An initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities, “My History Is America’s History” is designed to encourage and help you explore your family history, discover your family’s place in American history and make your own contribution to history. Using the NEH’s guidebook is an opportunity for every American to be an historian — to remember, to record and to see things in the “big picture.”
These books are no longer available free from the NEH, however, you can download a PDF from Hands On Heritage.
You may even consider taking a “My History Is America’s History” workshop — a gathering place for sharing family stories, for meeting folks in the community who are prepared to share or help with your voyage of historical discovery, and for getting the scoop on Web sites, books, films, and places to visit where our nation’s past is seen through the triumphs and trials of ordinary families.
Here are some of the meanings of “My History Is America’s History”:
- We all share ownership and have a stake in America’s past, present and future.
- Every American family’s story is a part of the making of our nation.
- Ordinary men and women play an important role in history.
- Oral histories, family stories, letters and diaries are valuable resources.
- Family history and genealogy are meaningful when put in a larger context.
- History needs to include the example and testimony of those who lived it to be appreciated.
Some people wish to take their history a step further and create a memoir to share with family members or as a legacy for future generations. Such projects could be the results of long-term research. A short-term project would focus on a central idea you want to write about such as: your experiences in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf War; a special trip; your high school life; raising your family; character sketches; the birth of each child; falling in love and other important events in your life.
Whatever you choose to recall and record, remember that your history is America’s history.
My History Is America's by Robin Van Auken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.robinvanauken.com.