Imagine if a huge museum and cultural centre for the Aromanians were to be built, with room for thousands of heritage documents from Vlachs living in the region and those of Vlach descent in the Diaspora. Where all things relating to the community — interviews, important historical documents, family names, vintage family photo collections, old maps, family trees, as well as modern artistic works like landscapes and creative writing etc. — were preserved and accessible for present and future generations. And the museum had an “open door” policy, gratefully accepting relevant material from families of Aromanian descent all over the world, so that others in the community had access to it. A museum which was arranged in such a way that the visitor could find things which would interest them within seconds of entering. Imagine if the it were open 24 hours a day and the entrance to it was in your own home. And what if the museum was also a place you could meet other people from the community and compare your family trees and perhaps find that you are related to them? Or where your children and grandchildren could discover how rich and interesting and beautiful the region of their ancestors?
Such a system exists today for other communities – see www.kythera-family.net – and is extraordinarily successful in linking current generations with their roots. More than 15,000 entries have been submitted by members of those communities to the sites, and more are coming in each day. Community members from the 3rd and 4th generations have discovered their family trees submitted by their 2nd and 3rd cousins whom they didn’t know existed. Grandchildren have interviewed their grandparents and put their stories onto the sites for all to enjoy.
The technology, which we call “culturesafe”, is also available to the Aromanian community. Your fascinating history can be gathered on such a site and be made available to all. The sites requires minimum maintenance – a check of new entries is advisable and an occasional newsletter helps remind the community to visit the site, but otherwise the site runs itself. Within a couple of years such a site could be THE forum and meeting point for all things relating to the Aromanian community.
The founders of Kythera-net are so eager to help communities like ours share and preserve their heritage that they offer the system at cost (which entails mainly hosting and backups). Anyone interested in creating such a site for the Aromanians is welcome to contact the Editor of this Newsletter at Secretary@farsarotul.org.