Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Are You?

 Grandma Olive

Tracing ancestries has been my vocation and avocation for one-third a century. At times I love it and other times I hate it. It is an obsession I can't shake.

Genealogy is not easy. It is not an exact science. It involves a variety of disciplines and a broad knowledge of many things! Knowledge of history, religion, geography, name etymology, hand-writing analysis, vital statistics--all play a part in the research of families.

Most of all, it demands tenacity, curiosity and attention to detail. A good memory helps, too.

Why do we want to know about our ancestors? To know where and how they lived. To know how they made a living. Were they cheerful and happy, or full of doom and gloom. Did they love life, their families, their work?

Knowing these things about our ancestors helps us come to terms with who we are. It gives our lives more meaning. It connects us with the past and gives more meaning to the present. It improves our perspective, our perception and our focus.

It is important to hear the voices of our ancestors. They were important, just as our voices will be important to our posterity.
I've gotten pretty good at digging up the bones and stitching together the tapestry of past lives. However, others are more elequent at writing down the bones.

Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones, states:
"Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on the earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and the details are worth to being recorded."

And the sons become the fathers,

And the daughters will be wives

As the torch is passed from hand to hand

As we struggle through our lives.

Though the generations wander

The lineage survives

And all of us

From dust to dust

We all become forefathers

By and By.


My friend TravelinOma writes more elequently about family history. Vistit her blog.


TravelinOma said...

I love it!! This is a beautiful cover and prologue. I can't wait to read it page by page!

I remember sitting under the trees at William Penn one spring morning in 5th grade reading Weekly Readers. There was an article about phones of the future that would allow us to see pictures, and type messages, and even see the people we were talking to. Isn't it strange that here we are, 50 years later, doing that exact thing?

Olive's Granddaughter said...

Oh, so true. Isn't technology amazing. We are so blessed to have this tool to aid our research.

Thanks for visiting.

KatieM said...

Oh how wonderful, "Olive's granddaugther"! i love this blog. What a great idea this is!

kenju said...

I skimmed the whole page and when I have more time, I'll read every line! Thanks for "following"!!