We have a great tradition in our clan, a family newsletter, published annually, keeping everyone connected and sharing the family history. We call it “SchNel Mail” to honor the families represented in it’s pages. In German, schnel means fast. Well, there’s nothing fast about gathering and compiling the happenings, photos and history of these families!
This all got started years ago when my great aunt got interested in genealogy. She collected all of the information that I had brought together for a 4-H project and visited with others to see what they had in their family stashes.
She proceeded to put together an awesome notebook for each of her siblings. The notebook contained two different family histories, that of the Schlichtings and the Nelsons. Three Schlichting siblings had married three Nelson siblings, something that was not uncommon in the early 1900s.
The notebook she produced was done well before computers, so these are hand written pages and photocopied photos. I treasure this notebook. As a thank you for sharing my research with her, she gifted me a copy of the notebook. This is quite a collection of family group charts, photos, clippings and stories. I love pouring over those pages for new clues to our family’s history.
My great aunt, went on to do an annual update to the notebook. She would reach out to her siblings, asking them for any new photos, births, marriages, deaths and special celebrations. And then she would wait. . . without email, texting, etc., she had to rely on the mail and the phone to get the job done. She had to have an incredible amount of patience to complete this annual task. A cousin recently shared a note she had sent to his father, thanking him for sharing in such a timely manner!
When my great aunt passed away, I stepped back up to take on this project. It has been an annual “labor of love”. I’m amazed each year at the “new” old photos that surface. After 17 years, I keep thinking that we have about exhausted all of the old photos and stories. This year, a photo of my 3rd great grandparents came in. That’s the first photo of this couple I’ve seen. Pretty cool!
We celebrate the quilters, musicians, engine collectors and others that make our clan unique. The newsletter has been a great way to keep us all connected, but also a great way to share the history, stories and photos of our ancestors.
The 2020 edition mailed out this past week. It’s a big project (93 pages this year) with great support from cousins. Unlike my great aunt, I can reach out through social media and have answers to questions and photos to share in minutes. My great aunt would be amazed!
It’s my hope that this project will spark the imagination of the next generation and continue to keep us connected well into the future.