Genealogy Beauty: Generational Amnesia
An interesting thing happened during our recent Thanksgiving family gathering.
Due to geographical constraints my wife’s and her siblings’ first cousins rarely find themselves in the same place at the same time so the fact they were all here was a marvel in and of itself. Between the memories, laughter, stories, and general catching up there was a most interesting observation made – and I made one of my own.
My personal observation was this:
Genealogy is a powerful motivator! Had I not worked for the last few years on my wife’s ancestry I doubt that our wonderful gathering would have ever happened. Sure, we would have all seen each other, but it most likely would have been relegated to funerals, etc. Instead, the excitement of the shared ancestry was powerful medicine and did its trick by showing the importance of family and keeping the fires and memories of our ancestors burning in our lives today.
The second observation was made by one of the cousins.
A group of us were gathered around the computer screen going deep on the Italian side of the family. We landed on a branch of the family that ended up locating in Canada, but not all that far from the ‘main’ branch of the family in northern Minnesota. It turns out that some time ago there was a rift developed in the family over a piece of family property in Italy and the chasm this disagreement caused was significant. While some of us recalled bits and pieces of the cause and resulting fallings out, it was not enough to keep us from reaching out and doing a bit of repair and beginning to reconnect with this branch of the family. Sometimes it just takes a thick skinned genealogy buff to boldly go where others have feared to tread!
An additional observation:
This situation caused me to recall that there had been a schism in my own ancestry as well. It seems there were two cousins, who happened to share not only the same surname, but the same given name as well. Confusion in school, etc. was frequent, but the families, on both sides, simply told these girls it was nothing more than coincidence. The truth?
The girls were are actually cousins, but one family, after emigrating from Bohemia practiced Catholicism while the other family were ardent Freethinkers. In the Bohemian community in Cleveland that was enough to rend those two branches of the family totally apart from each other.
So while we genealogy fans love to preserve stories and family history, every so often it seems good that some of those old issues, peccadillos, and rifts get lost in the mists of time.
Some bygones are best to be left as just that…bygones.