...celebrating 31 years!


 Doug Harris

When it comes to family history every family needs a champion, someone who's willing to sacrifice time (and money) for the greater good of having family and ancestral history documented for future generations. A champion does not pay attention to naysayers, and is willing to go above and beyond the ordinary. As the champion steps out front, some will follow and offer support. Others will not. To steal a phrase from Spiro Agnew, the "nattering nabobs of negativity" will always be there. There are also those who will never care, but that in no way affects the importance of telling our family stories and reminding our children and children's children that character matters and perseverance pays. Our respective family histories not only inform, but inspire and encourage. They are the prologue to our future. Coming generations need to know from whence they came. It is the only way they can become all they can be. For all the champions out there, keep forging ahead. Collect the photos; talk to the elders; write down the stories; complete the family trees; research the census reports; and organize the reunions. It's worth it.


Doug Harris is author of The Marvel Chronicles, a memoir of his mother's life, and Raised by Giants: Growing Up Colored, Negro, Black in Burlington, NJ Back in the Day.

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There’s the rule of thumb that says understanding/knowing family history helps us to: connect and/or reconnect with our roots; support the contributions and achievements of our ancestors (thereby encouraging future generations); and provide opportunity for younger family members to learn about their heritage. And yet, there are those who were born and raised in rough and dire times who prefer to move on and forget. And, those who forgo the planning (and/or participating) of reunions because of a want or need for some part of the past to stay hidden and behind them.

So, what’s a family to do? How important is family history, especially when there are those who don’t want any part of sharing it?