If you’re reading this, then you probably already know why. It’s not because my life is empty, I have plenty to keep me busy. It’s not to feel important. Well, not more than any other person wants to feel important. There is no prize. There are no bragging rights. There is not accomplishment, other than in the “finding out”. You can be proud to be sure. Everyone can. The very fact that you exist is a testament to the struggle of those who came before you.
So what do you get? For some people, it’s okay not to know. It’s better. You’re from Michigan or Indiana or Minnesota and that’s where you are. That’s your culture. You might pick a favorite sport or a favorite food. You may feel a part of everything or totally alienated by the choices you make.
So why choose to look for something you can’t possibly change?
If you like Sushi, speak Japanese and practice Shinto, why should it matter that your ancestors are from Poland? Now that’s a good question. It doesn’t. Not really. Not on the grand scale of things that matter. Unless it matters to you.
Now if you think that everything you like and identify yourself with is based on a personal choice then I submit that you attempt to like something else. If you detest greenbeans then you should turn around and like them. It’s your choice right? Don’t like skydiving? how about knitting? Like the sports team from your area? Well it’s about time you started rooting for the team from that other area.
When I think about Genealogy in human terms I think about things like religion. I may be a Buddhist. My children and their children may be the same. Some day down the road though, several hundred years from now when Buddhism is the standard in my family my great great great grandchildren may find it interesting that I was born Catholic and that we didn’t always live on the Moon colony.
They may look back and wonder at my own humble life. What was it like to be one of those people? It may cause them to learn about this time and these events. They may be proud or sad or indifferent about what they learn, but it could be a spark of knowledge. A bit of story told by some adult in their lives that they can confirm and expand on. When they consider the choices we’ve made and can apply the outcomes of those choices to their own lives, they may learn understanding.
Just as I am learning by following the trail of my people so can my children into the future.
There is a great line in the True Blood series. Local bar keeper says “It must be nice to have an old family.” His employee says, “All families are old, just some have better documentation.”
I like history and I’ve spent a lot of time reading about the history of others. I love it. Now I have the time to learn about the history of myself and along the way, maybe give some other poor soul a leg up.