Genealogy and Giving Thanks: Who’s at Your Table?
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and, if you have been following here, you know it is my favorite. To me it is one of the last non-commercial holidays and needless to say you will not find anyone from our family out at the stores on Thanksgiving Day. Rather we will be celebrating being thankful for all we have.
For those of us who enjoy and thrive on our genealogy it is an even more special holiday because it is hard to be thankful and not think of those who came before us to help us get where we are today.
When we gather around our table it will be wonderful to see the faces of friends and family! Even if you are eating solo, as a genealogist we will see a lot of other faces as well.
I will see my mother who taught me family gatherings take time, money, and effort, but if YOU don’t do it chances are it may not happen, so JUST DO IT! (She was Nike well before Nike).
I see my grandmothers, especially as our table will hold two holiday dishes made direct from their recipes: pickled cucumbers and sweet potatoes.
I see my wife’s Italian grandmother who when asked by her son to finally have turkey for Thanksgiving rather than pasta did just that by cutting up the turkey to put in the pasta sauce!
I will see a multitude of the faces of ancestors worldwide who, in the case of my wife’s and my family, gave up their homelands to come to America to begin a new life. The struggles they undertook are part and parcel to make it possible for us to be at our table enjoying the life we have today.
I will also see faces of family who are scattered across the globe, many of whom have only recently joined our fold through the ‘magic’ of our genealogy research.
I will see the faces of friends – old and new. Some will grace our table and some will be enjoying their Thanksgivings elsewhere in their homes, in the homes of their families, or perhaps with other friends. But no matter as their spirit and the lessons, blessings, and treasures they have imparted to me through their friendships over the years will be evident and in place.
Before we feast we will have our formal graces. One for each of the religions present at our table and many silent ones as well as we all have our special intentions for thanks.
Then at some point, while not wanting to bore the family to tears, I will step aside to some quiet place and raise my glass in a very special toast. It will be to all those who have helped me along my path be they family, friends, ancestors, etc. It will come from a place in my heart that is deeply thankful for all I have and all I received from them.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!