Family History

MAGIC! Family History & The Internet

My mom wrote to her mother in a letter dated 1971: “Scotty is throwing a fit because he doesn’t like the song Valerie is playing on the record player.” My little brother was two, and he wanted me to play “Five Minutes More,” a family-favorite that we liked to dance to. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate my David Cassidy phase.

Anyway, not long ago Scott was in town and one night while at my house he began reading from the family history that included the letter. We jokingly apologized—me for not playing his song, and he for his tantrum. While we were laughing about it, my husband pulled up a YouTube video of Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass playing “Five Minutes More.”

Letter written by Eileen Giberson to her mother dated May 1971 and included in the Giberson Family History. Photo by Valerie Ipson.

Letter written by Eileen Giberson to her mother dated May 1971 and included in the Giberson Family History. Photo by Valerie Ipson.

With only a few clicks on a computer, a song from our childhood was played using present-day technology. The story and the song could be shared with my children and grandchildren. Magic!

Another brother, Rick, read in our family history about our dad presenting at a Carbon Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1965. He decided to do a Google search of the event.

“Sure enough,” Rick says, “the American Carbon Society website comes up with a listing of all the articles from the 1965 conference. I . . . found ‘Reaction of nuclear graphite with water vapor’ by R. C. Giberson [our dad] and J. P. Walker. But then the interesting thing. There were 36 other articles that cited it. As I scanned over some of those articles, I saw that over half of the references were since the 1990s . . . and as recent as 2016! Who knew that Dad’s work in the 1960s was so important to ongoing research today!?!”

Through Google and other internet sites, we have the ability to search not just for people, but for images, histories, events, and places that reveal our history in ways that our posterity can relate to.

We can locate a map of our hometown. We can find the street view of our childhood home. We can discover the history of the local church we grew up attending. We can uncover the news report of the storm that ravaged our neighborhood. We can happily find the song we used to dance to, and so much more about our lives.

The internet has brought the world to our fingertips, and that means the world to our family and personal histories.

What can you Google today that will connect your children and grandchildren to your past?

Story by Valerie Ipson, The Arizona Beehive

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