Saturday, March 13, 2010

The History of You

My husband Al has recently rediscovered a passion for genealogy, a hobby he started 34 years ago - and a few weeks ago, he sat down and wrote down his thoughts on why he has become a genealogist in response to the question coming up in discussions with other genealogists... it seems that everyone has a different reason for wanting to find their "roots." In honor of Genealogy Day, I asked him if it was okay to share his thoughts with you and he graciously agreed, so here it is without further ado...

Why I’m a genealogist

That is an awesome question. Anyone that isn’t a genealogist that meets one sometimes wonders why we have that fascination with dead people. For me, there are many reasons, but let me try to explain them here for you.

Buddhists believe that each person has three deaths. The first is when you die. The second is when you are buried. And the third is when the last person alive that knows you, or knows of you, dies. Personally, I think that is very profound. As long as there is someone out there that knows you, or knows of you, or knows of your life, then you are still alive.

I used to be a cook, and still think in recipes. My ancestors were my cooks. Their genes are my ingredients. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.

So, putting those two thoughts together, don’t I owe it to my ancestors to know them, and to keep them alive? Don’t I owe it to my children, and their descendants, to help them know where they came from, and to also help them know who their ancestors are, so that they may keep us all alive?

That should be enough for anyone. But wait, there is more. I have a love of history, learning how our society and cultures developed and got to where they are today. It gets even more exciting when I can place an ancestor as part of those historical events. Thinking what they must’ve gone through -- the risks, the rewards, the reasons, the pain, the satisfaction, the need, the drive, and most importantly, their families, their loved ones, their husbands, their wives, children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers.

And last, the fun. The joy in the discovery of a new ancestor, cousin, or even the birth of a new descendant. The mystery and investigation. What happened to these people? Where did they come from? Where did they go? How did they survive? Where did they live? What did they do to earn a living? What was their culture like? What do they look like?

Sometimes we lose sight that these people are just that. Each is a person, with a life as full and varied as your own. Much more than just a birth, marriage, and death date. These people had lives. And these people are why you are here today. By discovering them, you are helping to celebrate their life. And they continue to live. Just as your descendants will keep you alive. - Al

I'd like to slip in a thank you to him as well as the Etsy shop owners whose items provided additional inspiration on the subject...

Our Family Tree Is Full Of Nuts Wood Sign- snickerdoodlesigns
Heart of the Family Tree Custom Wind Chime - laurelarts
Family Tree. Blue/gray - sarahjanestudios


Beth said...

What an awesome post. I like the way your hubby describes the 3 deaths. Makes sense to me.

Patti said...

Your husband is a good writer. does he have his own blog? Maybe he should write a family history with recipes included!

storybeader said...

cute, cute family tree!

Tell Al that I enjoyed his post. I work with genealogists all the time in the archives at the Museum. I like investigative part of genealogical work.

Anonymous said...

very interesting the concept of "rebirthing" your ancestors..

I LOVE to learn about old family stories and people's lives

I hope I'm remembered well...
Patti from Northernlodge

tbranscum said...

Great post!

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