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Friday, May 3, 2013

What is Genealogy to You?

I know, know....been busy, but I'm trying.


Have you ever laid awake at night thinking about genealogy? That's why my wife advises me to not look at genealogy too close to bed; sort of like caffeine, it just keeps me up. All the things that I need to look for churning around in my head. Trying to figure out some brick wall or road block.

But the worst things are when I think about the pictures or bibles or documents that are out there and I don't have. Maybe they are known artifacts which someone has, but are unwilling to provide me. Maybe they are artifacts which I know existed, but can't locate now. Those situations just churn my stomach up so much that I definitely can't get to sleep.

Where am I going with this? Well, so maybe it would be easier if everything was just handed to me on a silver platter, right? Here...this is all your genealogy, going back 10 generations, pictures of everyone, documents, etc. Enjoy. Thanks silver platter. You just ruined my hobby.

As much as I want to find everything out there related to my family. I want to be the one to find it. I want to piece it together, to have those moments where you feel you can do the genealogy happy dance, whether it's in a cemetery, library, or in your pajamas in your house at 2:00 in the morning. So I want the thrill of genealogy, but along with that thrill comes the tears. By this I mean the information, the pictures, the documents and the people that I will never find. I have to come to terms with that fact, that this puzzle will never have all of its pieces put together.

Heartbreak and joy. I guess I can handle that. It's better than getting handed my genealogy all done for me. That would so ruin the experience and I wouldn't know what to do with myself after that.

As a side note, I hope that this great transformation in genealogy where so much information is being put online and indexed, does not make genealogy too much easier. I've been worrying about that lately as well. Will it take the fun out of genealogy, just having so much just a click away? Hopefully not; but I guess we are going to have to take the bad with the good.

Copyright © 2013 Matt Mapes