Genealogy #OffTheGrid

History & Genealogy-Welcome The Embrace

A personal note from my desk as I feel compelled to share with you the true path of your family history. As you struggle to honor the facts of your relative’s worldly existence, stop for a moment and take a closer look at the actual techniques you are using. I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions. Just how important is it to you to find the complete picture of your ancestor’s life? Will just a name or a date satisfy your interests? May-be you have discovered another neutral genealogy plan that is laid out for you that only requires a few clicks from the mouse to obtain your desired information. How is this plan working out for you so far? What do you think you are missing from your research? What critical detail remains undiscovered? If you have a moment, take a look over the words in the following paragraphs. A possible alternative, a solution, a new option; all of these words are adjectives describing choices that each of us make with any decision involving our minds. Your personal family research is no different. The decisions you make leave a lasting impressionable track of your family tree. Broaden your genealogy horizons during the next few minutes and open a new chapter by reading the following chosen words.

The best way I have found to explain the relationship of real genealogy research is using the scenario of a train and the track it travels on. In other words, two tracks run parallel to one another in order for a train to reach it’s destination. We all know this is a fact, an unquestionable truth. Without these two tracks, the train would literally stop and be prevented to move any further on it’s own merit. Now take these two simple tracks, both traveling in the same direction, both having the intent on reaching the same goal and apply history on one and genealogy on the other. Sit back and think about that for a moment. Every rhythm of that train now involves the same time period of your ancestor during a specific point in history. Picture your final destination as a gorgeous every growing family tree filled with wonder and amazement on each and every branch.

As you pull out of the station, you are traveling along the two tracks, working together through each mile and discovering a scenery of the past. You are gathering notes from a different time, place, event with your ancestor riding along the rails with you. As you work, you will develop your own personal technique that can only work with your own personal family tree. I’ve mentioned this several times before and I’ll say it again here: The research conducted for a family tree is as unique as the tree itself. Why is this true? Once you realize how historical present day events play a vital role with your own life, you begin to unravel the pieces of the full picture that displays your ancestors and who they really were as individuals. It’s for this reason alone, that family history is as unique and different from one another as we are from one to another. Travel slow at first, take in all that the scenery gives you. Master your method as you travel, one step at a time, one mile at a time, one day in the life of long ago.

I can promise you one thing with the results. Your family tree will be as beautiful and as remarkable as you are as a person of present day. We are all special, unique, different and beautiful. Make no mistake about it, the roots of what began as a small dream, hope and yearning to know will ultimately become a beautiful remembered family. Forever joined together by history, genealogy and the never ending embrace.

1 reply »

  1. I agree with your perspective. My own methods have evolved over time and my understanding is so much richer because I now take time to learn and contemplate the history of the nation and the communities in which my ancestors lived. Plus, I conduct a much more thorough look at period records. In recent years I’ve greatly improved my understanding of deeds and probate records. Newspaper research is now a key element of my studies.

    Recently I have started exploring academic records (dissertations, theses, studies, and research) related to the areas in which my ancestors lived. They provide a new dimension for understanding historical context, the creation of infrastructure, the culture of a region, and the individuals who shaped the communities. The records of archives and libraries are also an amazing source of information. I found a fifth great grandfather’s grave in some papers in the special collections of a university library. Coincidently it was the library of the university I attended. Recently I have been corresponding with archivists at record collections of church denominations and in doing so have opened up another window into the past.

    An analogy I use to describe my interest in genealogy is the concept of a puzzle. The pieces were scattered out the window of the train in your scenario. Some fell near the point of origin, others miles down the road. Some were lost forever, some were hidden, many were damaged, and some were carried off to destinations unknown. As each piece is identified, studied, and put in place it provides clues as to the possible location and content of the adjoining pieces. I will never find all the pieces but after decades of collecting and assembly I have mental images of many ancestors which are cloudy and incomplete but understandable. Thank goodness I gave up trying to put branches and leaves on an endless tree. I have fewer branches and leaves but leaves and bark have color and texture. They are no longer abstractions. They live in my notes and my mind.

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