No, you didn’t forget dear old Dad. On Sunday is recognized as Father’s Day in the United States. It is a day to appreciate and let your Dad know you care about him and all the things he does for the family. He might not be a biological father, in modern families today he could be a step-father, an adoptive father or even a grandfather taking on the father figure, which ever way he is there for you.
An even earlier acknowledgment of fathers in the United States was in West Virginia in July 1908 during an memorial service for a 210 men, mostly fathers, killed in a mining accident. It was then Sonora Smart Dodd who felt a special need to have set aside a day for fathers, because she had seen her own widowed dad raise six children. It was through her efforts the celebration of fathers started in the State of Washington in 1910 with major activities held in Spokane and set from then on for the third Sunday of June across the country. The tradition spread to many other nations, most following the third Sunday of June.
In the United States recent figures show there are about 70.1 million dads with 1.7 million being single dads.
Special sayings to think about relating to fathers:
"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." By Anne Sexton
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” By Billy Graham
In genealogy the knowledge of the father and his lineage has been very important. For centuries it would be the father’s surname that would be written and recorded, which in turn always made it difficult to learn a mother’s maiden name. Having the father’s surname lineage has always been easier to locate, in most cases. Difficulties can arise when the spellings of a name vary.
There are even surnames of ‘Father’ and ‘Fathers’ which comes from the early Anglo-Saxon term of ‘fader’ referring to a chief or elder for a village. In the United States the surname of ‘father’ is not a common surname, just four individuals listed on the Social Security Death Index. For ‘Fathers’, there were 24 individuals listed on the SSDI. Within the American Native Indian population, the name of ‘Father’ and ‘Fathers’ is much more common.
If you have not sat down with your father or grandfather to learn of their past, to get on paper or in digital format their life story, no better opportunity is available than the present. Remember they were a kid once also and surely there are some interesting adventures that little boys can find themselves in.
Photo above - My father, Harry Kershaw, as a boy in 1914, in Manchester, England before the family sailed for America. If I had only known years ago, the questions I could have asked!