Finding Where We Have Come From

genealogy

genealogy001For the past couple weeks I have been in a genealogy research mode. Most of my time has been spent entering my data into a new program. I could have done it the easy way by loading a file exported from the old program I had been using, however I took the time to enter them one by one so that I could try to catch any errors in my data.

Genealogy can be the most frustrating puzzle. You can run into a dead end with an ancestor and search for years without success to find that step back to the next generation. In my opinion these dead ends, even though they can make you want to beat your head against a brick wall and start a bonfire with your files, have the possibility of giving you the most joy. There have been years and years pass by where I have been stuck at a dead end ancestor, and then by accident discover my next step while I am researching a different ancestor. It can be like getting the greatest birthday gift ever.

genealogy002Working on genealogy is a fantastic way to learn about history. When you are tracking back through your ancestors you can learn what was going on in their world and how the events influenced their lives. It can give history a more personal connection. Instead of just being stories about people and places that have very little or no meaning to you suddenly become records of events that that had powerful effects on members of your family. For example they could have caused your family to abandon their land, family and lives in another country and move to America, or maybe move halfway across the country for a chance to own land and improve the lives of their children.

genealogy003Regardless of why you do it or what you learn about your ancestors’s lives I feel that genealogy research can have a major impact on anyone how does it. Our ancestors have contributed to who we are today. Our genes came from them. They established family traditions. The foundations of our culture were laid down by them. As the saying goes, if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Where We Have Come From

  1. I totally understand the *frustration* you are describing but it is sooo rewarding to bust those brickwalls and learn about your family history. I started genealogy research when I moved from Quebec to Europe, in the hopes of learning where I came from. I did not expect famous or notorious ancestors but I found multiple life stories of hard-working people who didn’t shy away from immigration, moving around, having two jobs, etc. I feel this reflects on me today as a person, these are traits of self-reliance, survival and creativity that enable me to always better myself. I am proud of where I came from and will pass on those stories to the next generation.

    • Breaking through the brick walls is so rewarding. I got started when I was a kid and found a book that one of my father’s cousins had put together about one of my father’s family lines. Seeing the pictures of ancestors that passed before I was born, documents showing when and why the family had moved to the midwest and set up homestead, reading the stories about the family members that gave up their lives in England and started new lives in the United States before they were states. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to try to discover the same for every line in my family. It is a grand puzzle and my favorite one to work on.

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