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!