Genealogy and autumn: What a divine pairing!
Happy Autumn! Today, at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the first day of autumn and I have to say it’s my favorite season and I really love it.
The autumnal equinox signals many fine things to come. One of which is an outstanding time to pair this awesome season with our genealogy and family history efforts.
Autumn brings an outstanding set of offerings for us family historians and genealogists. First there are the memories of times in our youth when we spent our time jumping in piles of leaves rather than worrying about raking them up and a time when we could relish the unique aroma of leaves burning, and much more. We lived in Santa Fe for a time and autumn there always offered us the wonderful aroma of roasting chiles in almost every parking lot in town and the sweet smell of piñon wood burning in our kiva fireplaces. Autumn also brings us the best time of year to visit churchyards as the trees provide us with magnificent backdrops with their God given colorful displays.
Plus, of course, we are also given the autumn holidays! Who cannot like Halloween and Thanksgiving? Especially if you are a family historian.
Halloween means a chance to bring out the old family photo albums and find those old snapshots of family members dressed for the occasion.
Who can forget the crispness of a freshly picked fall apple or a glass of just pressed cider? We all love the crunch of dried leaves underfoot (or in my wife’s case as a young girl not under, but in her shoes, which her mother then insisted she vacuum out) and the unique scents of fall leaves.
There are pumpkins to be found, weighed, and carved. The seeds to be roasted and eaten, the ‘guts’ to be removed, and the candles lit in them. Oh, and there is the black smeech on the lid of the pumpkin to be used as makeup for Halloween costumes too.
Amazingly, until I spoke to my wife about this idea, I had forgotten about fall hunting. You are free to like it or despise it, but for decades and generations, duck and grouse hunting has held a most important and unique place in our family’s autumnal calendar. Similarly on the calendar of my in-laws and many of our friends. It fostered our love of many family Labrador retrievers and provided for many meals for ourselves, extended family, and friends. It also has a way of giving me a much needed time to recharge my batteries as I exit the treadmill of work and live the hunting life spending days reveling in the beauty of nature. Bagging any game is truly in second place to the nurturing I feel by simply immersing myself in Mother Nature’s autumn beauty of the woods and marshes.
So it is, as I think back on each of these aspects of autumn, which I love so much, I find these memories filled with family and family traditions. Things I do not want to let go, but in the hustle and bustle of the world today, find all too often I have.
So I work to capture those autumn memories and preserve them in our family tree for myself, our family, and all those who will come after me. And then I double my efforts to insure I carry those on I can with my wife, our children, and grandchildren. Who knows? Those in the distant future of our family tree just might read my musing and memories of autumn, take them to heart, and continue these traditions.
It can’t get any better than that for a genealogist!
Onward To Our Past®