Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Thoughts on Genealogical Research and Why I Do It

When I do genealogical research I see those behind me, who have lived before me, the present, those who are here, and those in front of me, children, grandchildren, their children, and their children. I want to leave something for them, something that will be a remembrance of their whole family. This remembrance will be a collection of family names, stories, records, and ramblings.

You may be asking, “Why does this person take her time to research these people, and write about them?” I will try to answer that question.  Researching these people or family is a fascinating hobby and if you look at it from a counselor’s view, “It feeds the soul.” I am a retired counselor. Yes, there are other ways to feed the soul, and I have pursued other ways; however, this one gives me great pleasure, a feeling of connectedness and continuity of family ties. I can put life into perspective when I go to the areas where they lived and I read about their family and their occupations. And I appreciate more than I did before the conveniences of the era in which I live in.

When researching family, I have a better understanding of my ancestors and their descendant’s way of life, the events of their era; diseases, disasters, and wars they lived through.  For me, researching family gives me the opportunity to know my relatives. I can reconnect with the ones that I actually knew when I was growing up, and I find new relatives and cousins. If I am fortunate, my research will connect me with new living cousins and reconnect with “long lost cousins.”

Family stories are fascinating, and every family has family stories that are passed down through the generations.  It is interesting to hear the stories; however, being a person who doesn’t just believe what I am told, I work to prove the stories.

Some of the research takes me into unknown interesting areas such as the unknown family lines that connect to the family. Once I started researching family, I found connections to families such as Kelly, Slay, Wideman, Baker, Howard, Young, and Teal who are ancestors on my paternal line.  I wasn’t aware these familial lines because no one ever mentioned them; however, being a persistent person I persisted in digging deep into those families and found their connections to my father. The journey has been fun along the way. It is amazing how these families all seem to tie together in certain areas and moved together, and settled in the same area.

My research has taken me to my father’s biological father’s family back to the 1790s Virginia. The family members that I knew personally, I especially feel close to because of the memories that I have of them; the visits, the family reunions, the traditions, and the stories.

I think of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and I want to leave something that would be personal, something that will enrich their lives, and something to give them a feeling of a family connection. A gift to them, a sense of belonging and knowing where they came from.

Genealogy research is all about our ancestors and their descendants being real people with the same needs, wants, feelings and faults as we. They had the same likes, dislikes, personality traits, talents, and they lived and breathed just as we do. Therefore, researching family is a hobby where I research real people who lived life as we live, who had  names, stories, records, and ramblings, and each family's collection will be passed down to the next generation. ■ 

Image from Google Images
The house is located in Lowndsboro, Alabama

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