One of the most common excuses I hear from people for not wanting to do their own family’s history is that nobody else cares.
In the case of Oscar Berliner, it was more like “Who the hell cares?”
Oscar, the crusty father of filmmaker Alan Berliner, persistently rebuffed his son’s attempts to document his father’s life. “What does it matter” … “I don’t care about the family tree.” These were what the elder Berliner told his just-as-persistent son in the 1996 documentary “Nobody’s Business.”
“I’m just an ordinary guy who’s lived an ordinary life. I went into the army, got married, raised a family, worked hard, had my own business. That’s all.”
This father-son clash that is at the heart of this fine film is all too familiar. That makes the findings of a recent survey by Ancestry.com all the more interesting.
The survey found that 83 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds are interested in learning their family history. That’s more than the 35 to 54-year-olds (77 percent) or the 55-plus group (73 percent).
Remember that during this holiday season. When a young family member asks you about your family history, give them what they want even though you may not share their enthusiasm. It’s literally the gift of a lifetime.
You can check out Alan Berliner’s touching eulogy to his father and learn more about his films here.
Speaking of the holidays, there’s a meme floating around with a theme similar to a Christmas advent card. There’s a prompt a day for collecting Christmas memories. Check it out here.