Why do people do Genealogy?
Why do People keep journals, logs, trees, showing their lineage?
Since the beginning of time, people have written down in pictures or cryptic hieroglyphics a story of their families. Sometimes WIKIPEDIA can be useful! It describes recorded history as this, "recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, and coincides with the invention of writing."1
Limestone Kish tablet from Sumer with pictographic writing; may be the earliest known writing, 3500 BC. Ashmolean Museum 2
When you think about all the indignities suffered by the generations in the past, sometimes it is hard to even imagine how people could survive, without air conditioning, a waterbed, toothbrush, clean bed linens, perhaps a decent shaving device. The list goes on. As we languish in the lap of even simple luxury, we can only learn from their lives. However, if a family doesn't document their lives, how is the future generation to ever learn from their mistakes? How are the next generations to grow and appreciate their forefathers?
In many ways, all families DID instill the love of their families in the next generation. The did it by storytelling. At Roots Tech, I watched a video about a journey to Africa to find family. When the young people arrived, they would interview and film stories and things they discovered were just amazing.
The people of the village from the time they were very small would have to memorize the family history - names, dates, who belonged to who. Can you tell me who your Great Great Great grandfather was on your Father's side? They could! Some were able to recite the journey almost 800 years.
I was particularly touched by Levar Burton's eloquent talk about his family. I have included a link to the Roots Tech speech that moved so many people to tears and ended with a standing ovation.
As your teenager is playing video games on the couch and not doing anything particularly educational, think about it....could he recite the journey of your people? Well now you know why we do Genealogy.
I am fascinated with the journey of my ancestors. I wish I had been more fascinated when my Grandparents were all alive. I asked them questions as we cooked together in the kitchen. I didn't ask them enough questions. When the last dish was dried after the big family meal and everyone retired to the family room something sad occurred; when the television turned on, all the questions stopped.
Now, I spend a lot of time wondering, researching and documenting the files we put together. I know that one day I will see them again and I only hope what I put together for my posterity will make them proud.
If you need help starting, please let us know. We can guide you. Let us know where you are stuck - maybe we can help you break through the wall.
Ted and Karen