Press Release of Senator Hatch
September 26, 2001
SENATE PASSES HATCH BILL TO
COMMEMORATE OCTOBER 2001 AS
FAMILY HISTORY MONTH
WASHINGTON - By unanimous consent, the Senate
today approved legislation introduced by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch to designate
October as "Family History Month." "Millions of Americans are researching
the history of their families," said the Utah Republican. "Experts say
that in the United States, genealogy is now the second most popular hobby
next to gardening. It is believed that more that 80 million Americans are
currently actively searching for more information about their ancestors.
"It is only natural that we want to find out more about our ancestors,"
Hatch continued. "What better way to bring families closer together than
by discovering more about the story of their own family? Like it or not,
who we are today is in large part, a product of our ancestors. Hatch's
bill (S.R. 160), which was co-sponsored by Robert Bennett (R-Utah),
commemorates October as Family History Month and encourages President Bush
to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to
observe the month of October with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
"With the advent of the Internet, there has been
an explosion of interest in family history," Hatch continued. "Last month
alone, more than 14 million Americans used the Internet to research their
family history. Genealogy Internet sites are some of the most popular
sites on the World Wide Web.
"Essentially, we are all immigrants to this
country. Our ancestors came from different parts of the globe," Hatch
said. "By searching for our roots, we come closer together as a human
family. S.R. 160 had 84 co-sponsors and was approved by unanimous consent.
"Researching ancestry is a very important component of identity. It can
lead to long-sought-after family reunions or allow for life saving medical
treatments that only genetic links will allow," Hatch said. "For all of
these reasons, I encourage people across this nation to find out more
about where they came from."
You Are Hereby Appointed Family Historian
By Michael R. Boyter
We all witnessed the passing of the last
century, and with it's passing, the memories of the 1900s live on only in
the minds and memories of we who lived it. Tragically, for those who fail
to keep a record of it, priceless family history, is going, going and soon
to be gone!
Those who where born in
1990's will not remember much if any of the 1900s.
Many born prior to the
1930's have already left us! So it is left to the rest of us to record all
we can about ourselves, the world we live in, and of our beloved family
members that came and went in the 1900's. Without doing so, when we are
gone…so is your family's link to the past. Then your family, in the years
to come, will have to make it through life without the benefit and comfort
of your wisdom and knowledge.
So, it is incumbent upon us
to become historians of sort.
Now how many of us, while
sitting in a boring high school history class, ever thought that we'd be
historians of the 1900s?
Someday Your Descendants
Will Number In The Thousands
It's true that most of our
written accounts of history will only be read by our descendants, but we
ought not to discount the possibilities.
The Net is the futuristic
version of a "cave wall". The typical cave discovery tells us of how
people lived thousands of years ago. Likewise, your personal history tells
your story but it also indirectly records society and how it affected you
and everyone around you.
Many of us put parts of our
family history on the Net and it's likely that our descendant will someday
"contribute" other parts of your history to online archive/biography-type
Can you imagine the
longevity of what you write today? Even on message boards!
I have, in my possession, a
journal written by my great-great-great-great grandfather. His name was
John Murdock. He was born in the late 1700s. That's more than two hundred
It's hard for me to imagine
that my great-great-great-great grandchildren could be reading of my life
in the year 2200. Imagine how the world will change by then and how the
time in which we now live will contrast against theirs.
With the technology and
ability to store information that we now possess, there really is no
excuse for anyone's descendants in the year 2200, for example, not to know
of you and of the time in which you lived.
If in the future there are
no more newspapers, how "boring" will it be to comment on headlines in
your local newspaper or about clipping coupons.
If in the future there are
no more gasoline-powered cars, how "boring" will it be to passively
mentioned changing oil, going to the fuel pump and using language like
"miles per gallon".
While to us, these things
are boring everyday things, they will be read with interest by your
...Some Didn't Even Know
Their Grandparents Complete Names!
I know I may be preaching to
the choir, but I have one last point.
To show how fast one's
family history can fade, I wish to relate my experiences that I had while
working with some 18-26 year olds.
During the mid-1990s I was
an Air Force recruiter and I routinely helped these young adults in
filling out background investigation paperwork.
I think you'd be surprised
at how often it was that twenty-something year old kids couldn't tell me
their parent's birth dates. Nor did many of them know where their parents
were born. Some didn't even know their grandparent's complete names.
This is a sad trend. You, by
keeping a journal and writing your family history, can prevent a trend
like this one from happening in your family.
your descendants will number in the thousands.
Will they know of you and share your wisdom? Will they know anything of
the eventful 1900s and the times you had?
It's entirely up to you.
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Historians versus Genealogists
and historians often look at the same data but for
very different reasons.
There are occasional conflicts between the
two, especially when
deciding how to allocate funds at a library
or archive. Each audience
believes it should receive more
attention than the other
when budgets are prepared.
While historians and
genealogists might scowl at one another
across reading tables in
archives, they have begun to reach some
common ground on the
Internet. A look at genealogy and history
Websites demonstrates the
efforts of each group to adopt what is
best about the other, if
for no other reason than that the Web's
accessibility to the
public means that the intended audience for
the material is, de
facto, much broader than either group has ever
You can find a great
discussion of this at Common-Place. Look at: