a tree-rific journey into family history

Why Genealogy? Why This Blog?

I like genealogy because it is a big, never-ending puzzle. Even if you found all the ancestors you possibly could, you could still spend a life time following each of their descendants and other relations. As someone with a history degree, I like analyzing data and sources. I think it is important to preserve our past, but I know genealogy is not for everybody. Sometimes when I start mentioning names, dates, and relationships, I notice the person I am talking to is looking for an escape. While genealogy may not interest most people, I think family history does.

Family history goes beyond just endless names, dates, locations, and lineages. It includes stories, artifacts, pictures, and context. Family history helps us to see our family’s movements, struggles, and triumphs in the broader historical context of the time. If I tell you my great-grandfather left Russia in the mid-1910s, that’s just a boring fact. If I tell you he left during the Russian Revolution, that’s a little more intriguing. If I tell you he was a soldier, the story suddenly means a lot more than just the date. Family history is the flesh to genealogy’s bones.

My wife (like most people) has 8 great-grandparents. A few days ago, I gave her a pop quiz, and despite my 18 months of genealogy research, I am ashamed to tell you she could hardly name any of them or their birthplaces. I was excited to see, though, that she remembered stories about them. She knows that one was born a slave in Tennessee and later helped establish the church district she grew up attending. She knows one great-grandfather was supposedly poisoned, and another is buried in an unknown grave. She remembers one great-grandmother was known as Big Mama and another moved to Kansas. That’s family history, and that’s probably a lot more interesting than their names and dates anyway.

I started this blog as a way to share some family history stories as well as my experiences with the discipline of genealogy. I hope to get comments and interest from the people I already know outside of this blog, and get feedback from other family historians as well. I have some ideas for topics such as ancestor bios, how research is done, cemetery preservation, our local genealogy society, African-American research, reasons people do genealogy, genealogy tv shows, family tree field trips, etc. I imagine I will use this space to post new discoveries as I find them and cool, old pictures.

What about you? Anything you’d like to see discussed here? Do you hate genealogy? Leave a comment so I know someone actually read this. At the top of the page, I have permanent links about who I am researching, who I am, and genealogy tools. Take a look!

These poor ladies never had a chance to read a blog, but you do!


Single Post Navigation

13 thoughts on “Why Genealogy? Why This Blog?

  1. Great first post! I’m proud of you, Shug!

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Nice. Keep up the good work!

  3. zpfactor on said:

    Wow! Great work.

  4. Thanks! My original draft was an ugly green page with a black and white picture up top covered in a long green sentence. Luckily, Adena helped me with the layout…

  5. theresa holman rush on said:

    Well done first post! Can’t wait to hear more stories. Its better than tv.

  6. Julie on said:

    Very cool!

  7. Hi, found you through the #familyhistory hashtag on Twitter. Really nice post – absolutely agree re the distinction between genealogy & family history. I look forward to reading more.

  8. Quesha on said:

    Look forward to reading more Matt!! You’ve inspired me to do some research on my lineage.

  9. Quesha, you should! It is a lot of fun, and there is so much to discover. I’d be happy to help any way I can.

  10. Vickie White on said:

    Wow!! That’s Alot of research!!! It’s fascinating! you are such a great writer!! Did you study writing in college? There’s such a nice tone throughout your stories.

  11. I totally agree with you. When I start talking about family history my relatives began to listen.

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: