By Jim Ericson of FamilySearch
We all have pioneer stories, ways in which we’ve blazed new paths to give ourselves and our families a chance at a brighter future. Documenting this legacy in family records can allow it to be shared with generations to come.
Some people hear the phrase pioneer stories and immediately imagine covered wagons crossing the plains. Others may think of a famous explorer, scientist, or another person crossing frontiers.
Celebrating the feats of people who have famously expanded our world is important, but it needn’t diminish the significance of our own achievements – whether or not they are widely known by others.
To celebrate the pioneer in all of us, we’ve asked family historians to look within and identify achievements they’d like to be part of their legacy. Let their pioneer stories serve as inspiration to think about your accomplishments. Then share a pioneer story you’d like as part of your family
Rachel LaCour Niesen
My path is paved by images – by photos of my ancestors.
I believe all of our family photos are in danger. They are hiding in attics, basements, and boxes around the globe. They are at risk of being damaged or lost forever.
Yet they are a living, breathing archive. They illustrate our stories and help us remember to remember. Long after we’re gone, and our children become the stewards of our family stories, these photos should remain. They should live on. They should speak across generations, saying, “I was here. I mattered to someone. I left a legacy of love. I helped start your story.”
That’s why I believe sharing family photos helps keep your ancestry alive. When my grandfather died two years ago, I wanted to celebrate the legacy he left behind. So I started scanning old photos of him — from his childhood to military service, to marrying my grandmother and raising my mother. Then, I posted a photo and a story about him on Instagram and invited family and friends to do the same for their loved ones. In turn, they encouraged people in their networks to share. Now I receive family photos and stories from all around the world.
Save Family Photos started as a personal project on Instagram and quickly grew into a virtual campfire. It’s a safe place where people can gather and share their stories, one photo at a time.
Rachel is the founder of Save Family Photos. You can follow her on Instagram.