So often when I make a new discovery, break down a brick wall or solve a puzzle in my genealogical pursuits, I want to share that success and how I was able to arrive there. This blog will be the place that I will chronicle my research and tell the stories of my ancestors.
I have almost ten years of these stories to tell, so, at times, I may reflect back on past puzzles and successes. Many of my ancestors have left a lasting impression on me as their stories have unraveled and evolved over time. Some have seemingly wanted to be known, gently leading me to their discovery, while others have done their best to hide from me. In either case, persistence and creativity pays off and a few may be turning in their graves at what I have uncovered about their lives lived so long ago. Contrary to what many believe, things really haven't changed all that much. The more I learn about my ancestors, the more I realize people are people - whether they carry an iPhone or rode in a covered wagon. We face many of the same challenges and find joy in many of the same things.
Regardless of what is discovered, genealogy does bring families together. This I know and have experienced first hand. Because of this research, I am in touch with cousins all over the world, most of whom I would never even have known existed and a few that I should have known, but didn't. Even those family members not directly involved in genealogy benefit, as illustrated by my mother recently attending a mini-reunion with her first cousins, some of whom she hadn't seen in almost sixty years. This visit was only made possible because of my research-driven communication with her extended family members. It was very clearly a joyful day for all in attendance (including me!).
Genealogy gives many of us a real, unshakable sense of who we are and how we came to be. It is amazing to reflect on the many chance happenings that, ultimately, resulted in our existence - how any one of us could so easily not have been born. When I become closely acquainted with the lives of my ancestors, I gain immense respect for many of them and great appreciation for the challenges they faced, and survived. Those times weren't easy, these times are not always easy, but, be assured, family will go on. And as long as it does, there will be people like us who wonder where we came from and look to the stories of our ancestors for answers.