Genealogy? *yawn* Who wants to take a nap? :: slowly raises hand ::
I get it. Believe me.
The truth is, though, that over the last 20 years, exploring my family’s past has been one of my life’s most exciting and eye-opening passion projects. Like pretty much *every single family* in the world, mine has its share of long-held secrets, dramas, rifts, legends and feuds. And tracing my family heritage has allowed me to to reclaim some of this past, capture missed time with family members I didn’t really get the chance to know, and gain a sense of belonging. Of knowing where I came from and where I fit in the world.
Since becoming a mother, this work has made me feel even more deeply connected to the past as a whole. When I’m rocking my six month old to sleep, I wonder if my great-great-great-great grandmother Charlotte made the same quiet shushing noises to her babies in 1856. Did she tuck her little boy into his bed and whisper, “I love you,” too? Did she marvel at how quickly babies grow up and need you less and less? (sob) It’s in these seemingly small, divinely human moments, that I feel such a sense of connectedness to those who came before me. Beyond the dates of birth and death on a tombstone, what conversations, tears, arguments, laughter and inside jokes filled the space between? This is the question that keeps me coming back to this work. And there’s always something new to discover.
Look, back to my original point: genealogy gets a bad rap. It sounds tedious, boring and dry. Like a school research project that requires an oral presentation and 500-word written report. The truth is though that it can actually bring your life into a sharp focus. Especially when you think about all the people that needed to meet, come together, and bring your grandmothers and grandfathers into existence. In a nutshell: genealogy is a tribute to all the little miracles that made you.
It’s easy to get blasé about being alive. We get so caught up in trivial things like who said (or didn’t say) what or who has more (or less) of this or that. For me, genealogy has a way of helping me zoom out from the everyday minutiae, reminding me of the fragile, beautiful nature of life and love and family.
To be sure, I am by absolutely zero means an expert nor credentialed genealogist. I’m simply a nerdy amateur with 20 years of personal experience that may be useful and mildly interesting to some of you. Hopefully, I can impart some helpful tips for getting started and my lessons (and looooooots of wrong turns and dead ends) learned along the way.
If you’ve been interested in learning more about how to get started on your own journey, stay tuned for more. And subscribe below to get notified when I share new updates!
Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.