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  Courtesy Library of Congress
Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Augustus Merrill.
years ago while he was hunting with his father. Now the approximately 20- by 30-foot graveyard is most certainly overgrown with trees, and the historical society has been unable to pinpoint its exact location.
When John Howe, the 6th great-grandfather of Chris Howe arrived in Maine, it was still part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John came from a proud family of patriots, which included David How (an “e” was added to the end of the name in 1830), who established the Howe Tavern, where many locals and stagecoach travelers spent time during colonial days. Howe Tavern, where George Washington stayed in 1775, is immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Long- fellow’s poem, The Wayside Inn. Chris’ grandfather brought his ingenuity and ambition to Hanover, where he established the John Howe Farm in 1800. Chris’ father, Gordon “Gordie” Howe served as Hanover’s postmaster, and for many years owned and operated Howe’s General Store, where locals met to shop, eat, and catch up on the latest town news. Chris took over running the store when his father re- tired. While the building remains standing, the store has since closed. The family has been long established in Hanover, and the Howe name is attached to a val- ley, a brook, and a bridge in the area.
Do you also want to discover and preserve your family’s heritage, but aren’t sure where to begin, or what tools you need to get started? The very best place is to start is with yourself, and then branch out!
Simply grab a notebook and pen, or sit down at your computer. Start by delving into your own life’s story, and then build backwards to include older genera- tions. Pick a few memorable times in your life and write about them. Birthday celebrations, holidays, weddings, and other occasions can be the source of wonderful stories to share with generations to come, and later help them to learn what life was like years before they were born. The following suggestions will help you get started.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to write the “perfect” story. Just fill it full of your favorite memo- ries and adventures so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can learn about the things that you experienced. Those stories may well inspire them to try something new. If you had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with some of your grandparents, you can write a chapter titled, “Memories of My Grandparents.” Write about their house or farm, the old-fashioned things they owned and used, and the kinds of foods your grandmother made. Did she bake bread, cookies or pies that you loved? Perhaps your grandparents came from a different country. Share any stories they told you about coming to the United States, and stories they told of their homeland.
Tip 1. Use a loose leaf binder to organize and collect the information you compile. Plastic hole-punched sleeve inserts are perfect for holding documents and photographs. Create a section for each branch of the family when you start. Eventually you may need sepa- rate notebooks for each branch as your information and memorabilia collection grows.
Tip 2. Make a list of the oldest family members still living. Create a list of questions you would like to ask each of them. Inform them of your project, and set up a date to visit. Seniors love to share the stories and experiences of their lives, and may have photos and other memorabilia to share with you. Don’t limit their discussion to the questions you ask. They may have some surprising family tales to tell!
Tip 3. Some family members may have had exciting or challenging careers that will interest future gen- erations. Visit with relatives that have served in the military, held political office, served in the medical field, or have been teachers, lawyers, police officers, or have had similar professions. They will all have one or more special experiences to share with you.
Tip 4. Include both good and bad experiences in your own life. In order to present an accurate image of who you are, you’ll need to include the time you broke your leg, were injured in a car accident, broke up with your first love, or suffered the loss of a dear family member. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has had a wide impact on many people. Did you lose your job, have to close your business, or keep your children out of school?
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