I know this is a week late, but I'd like to take a moment to honor fathers. I'm grateful my dad is still around to guide me. I know I'm a grownup, but it's nice to call Dad and get some advice about this and that. I love my father probably more than I ever tell him so.

I didn't get a chance to meet my father-in-law; he died before Steve and I met. But in a way I feel like I know him thanks to the photos we have and the stories I've heard. Someday I'll meet him in heaven.

For the past several months, I've been trying to develop a couple of heritage albums. For those of you unfamiliar with that terminology, a heritage album is a scrapbook featuring ancestors and descendants.

I'm not sure why I originally delved into this project, yet it has been gratifying to map out family history.

Similar to a genealogy hunt, I've tracked down photos stretching back to great-great-grandfathers on my father's side and my husband's father's side. I've collected photos of my parents and Steve's parents as well as aunts, uncles and cousins.

My mother-in-law and mother have been instrumental in getting items for this album gathered up as well as providing background information.

It's been extremely interesting to sketch family trees and make connections I never made before. My mother's parents and my father's father were already gone by the time I was born. But because of this research, I feel like I've gotten to know more about them, thus more about where I came from.

It also has been a thrill fingering through the pictures of my husband's father. Those pictures have given me a chance to see my father-in-law in his element, whether it was on horseback or with his siblings and his son.

I've enjoyed comparing old pictures to more current photographs, particularly those of my mother's childhood and mine. We have a lot of the same expressions and mannerisms and it's almost hard to distinguish my toddler and grade-school pictures from hers.

It has been exciting to pull out photos of my father as a kid and have him explain what's going on in those shots. There are so many tales I'm being told about that I haven't heard before -- and probably wouldn't have learned unless I was building a heritage album.

Tracing the family line can be tedious. There are a lot of blanks to fill and the answers aren't always easy to find, especially if certain records weren't kept or certain relatives are deceased.

Nevertheless, I've found that heritage albums are colorful and chock full of details that may otherwise be lost. Plus, the genealogy is presented in a way that is interesting to all who browse through heritage albums.

I plan to include modern-day events in these heritage albums such as family reunions, weddings and funerals. I always have a camera with me at any of those happenings to capture moments of togetherness. It's fascinating to match up recent photographs of relatives with their photographs back when.

If you haven't taken the time to seek out your heritage, maybe now you should. It's a good way to discover more about yourself.



Ruth Ann Replogle is News -- Eagle Lifestyles editor.



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