Monday, October 4, 2010

Revisiting Goals 2010

I suppose I wouldn't be revisiting my 2010 goals now except that I've met one - or nearly have - so I guess I can crow a little about it. I have scanned a large part of the Russell family archives and all of the photos I have found so far. That is a BIG deal for me. Scanning gets mighty boring, especially when what I really want to do is dig into some family roots or climb some neglected family tree limbs. The numbers: 241 documents such as letters, report cards, newspaper clippings, funeral notices, obituaries, invitations; about 45 postcards, front and back; about 110 photos, also front and back

The other part of that particular goal, #4, was to post them here. Well, I haven't done that yet - obviously... but I will! I think the plan is to begin at the beginning...I tend to have to do things chronologically...except for several very important digressions. An example will be the story of a smart, accomplished young woman who became a nurse in the early 1900s but who died too young. It's not a dramatic story, but it is a heartbreaking one, especially for her sisters who grieved a long time for her.

There are still several parts of the archives to scan, including the diaries of the Russell sisters. I photocopied the pages years ago and scanning shouldn't take long. There are also scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and other things that will prove more challenging to scan. I may set up my camera to take digital photos of them. That will be down the road a bit. I don't anticipate being able to start posting this until after Thanksgiving, and most likely after the new year.

There are no scandals in the story, no black sheep or fallen women. The story of the Russell family up to the middle of the 20th century is the story of an American family seeking to earn a living and take care of their family responsibilities, which meant they had to move several times to find work. They lived through many historic changes. But the diaries and letters they left do not talk about that. They record the personal stories of the how they earned money to help pay for necessities, of giving up a dream to care for a parent, and of their struggles to live up to their spiritual ideals. To quote from Agnes Russell's diary: "How can writers describe such dull, drab, lonely lives of country people. Maybe some families live such lives - we didn't."

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