Genealogy: By Blood, By Law, By Family Tree
WHAT FUELS YOUR PASSION FOR GENEALOGY?
Everyone has their own reasons for working on their genealogy and family history. Some are driven by their religious beliefs although I am not one of those folks. Some are driven by a desire to ‘prove’ they belong to some Society or Legacy group. Again, let me say that I am not one of these, although I will happily admit I truly enjoyed when I researched and completed the Czechoslovak Genealogy Society International’s Pioneer Family Certificate process for my Knechtl and Vicha great grandparents. Other folks are on a mission to find a missing link or person in their family trees and although I do have my share of brick walls around some folks who disappear at certain times this isn’t my motivation either. Some people seem to take to genealogy in a strange effort to run up huge numbers on Ancestry.com or Findagrave.com, but once again (thankfully) you won’t find me in that group either.
So why do I love genealogy? Why do I so enjoy delving into old newspapers, history books, dusty cartons, trays and trays of 35mm slides, archives, and photo albums? Pure and simple my motivation is family. Family by blood, family by law, and most certainly family by family tree.
When I began our family history no one in our families had undertaken any type of genealogy. Everything was new and the ‘territory’ was uncharted. We knew next to nothing about the Bohemian branch of our family and we knew precious little about our Cornish branch.
It didn’t take me long while looking at one of our, albeit rudimentary, early family trees to realize that there was far more to our genealogy and family than simply my bloodline. The graphic was clear to me even as a still wet behind the ears novice. While my in-laws might not be ‘blood’ to me they are ‘blood’ to my children and would be ‘blood’ to any descendants they may have.
So it was that I quickly came to thrive on the fact that our family and our genealogy is more than ‘by blood’ and more than ‘by law’. It is, most of all, family ‘by family tree’!
As a result of this inclusive view of family, truly wonderful things have been happening in the years since I began way back when my very first family tree contained all of 9 names.
As a matter of fact I was telling someone just a couple days ago that it was these ‘wonderful things’ that drew me to genealogy and they responded with ‘Wonderful like what?’ Good question I thought – so here are a couple of my answers, in no particular order:
I understand who I am far better now than before I knew where and from whom I came from.
Our family history is now far more secure than it ever was before. We have saved it and continue to improve our understanding of it almost on a daily basis!
We know more about the people, culture, history, and times of our ancestors than any of us ever knew before.
Our shared knowledge of our family history has reached out to many members of our family young and old as well as those who live near or far. One of my all-time favorite comments from a newly connected cousin about our genealogy was this: ‘Wow, I always thought I was from a very small family, but now I know I am a part of something big and truly wonderful!’
When I first moved our family tree online we had only four members on our site and all four of those were due to my guilt-tripping my wife, children, and mother to join me there. We now have 222 family members registered on our site and they access our family history no matter whether they live in the States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, France, and several points in-between.
I have seen the excitement on the faces, heard the thrill in the voices, and experienced the intense emotions meeting cousins worldwide as new discoveries are shared, new photographs shown, new stories added, and deep friendships established.
WHAT FUELS YOUR PASSION FOR GENEALOGY?
So tell me with your comments, what is it that fuels your passion for genealogy and family history? I’d really love to know!
Onward To Our Past!