My wife is a passionate genealogist. She would tell you that one of the most compelling arguments for studying genealogy is the sheer celebration and sense of pride that comes with discovering one’s identity through their family heritage. Dedicated to that very purpose, she has spent countless hours researching both of our individual family histories. Her efforts (and mine) recently included a month-long trip to Germany. We crisscrossed that country researching tiny church graveyards, locating family home addresses and long-gone family business sites, visiting a local museum and searching their archives, all in the spirit of knowing and understanding our heritage. “Without that sense of individual memory,” she says, "I think that some folks suffer a disconnect in the form of a lost family identity.”
Her choice of words, “individual memory” stuck with me. I reasoned that every one of our MBAA Districts is, in a very real sense, an individual memory. Geographically, they spread from coast to coast, and even beyond our own borders. Chronologically, some districts are quite old, dating back to the original MBAA Chicago meeting in March, 1887. Others are much younger. But they all offer the rich heritage of their individual memories. Taken one step further, those individual memories build upon one another, evolving into MBAA's “collective memories.” And isn't historical knowledge really nothing more than a series of individual contributions leading toward a “collective memory?” It is in that spirit that I ask each local district to consider the establishment of a District Heritage Chair. I can think of no better way to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of MBAA.
A District Heritage Chair would not have to be a complicated or consuming position. It might be chaired by someone who is somewhat historically minded. Perhaps they like to read history. Or perhaps they enjoy genealogical research themselves, already pursuing their own family roots and individual memories. When attending their District events, perhaps they are just a bit more aware of the importance of meeting minutes and photo archives. But a District Heritage Chair, established at every one of our local Districts would be the first step in formalizing a process to capture individual memories, turning them into MBAA's collective memories. It would be the first step in ensuring that we continue to build upon our rich heritage for another 125 years!
I would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this at: firstname.lastname@example.org.