The Story Tellers
We are the chosen. My feelings are in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family you would be proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do? It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.
That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and
old to step up and put flesh on the bones. .....Author Unknown, Submitted by Margaret Fox
Can You Be Addicted to Genealogy?
Here's the test! Addiction to genealogy often begins when a person is bitten by the genealogy bug. The victim is usually stricken when attending family reunions. There are no know cures and the condition seldom ends before death. To find out if you are addicted to what is sometimes known as a hobby, take the following test. Grade yourself on this scale: "1" is never; "2" is occasionally; "3" is frequently; and "4" is always.
Do you brake more frequently for libraries than outlet malls? 1 2 3 4
Do you hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery? 1 2 3 4
Had you rather read a census schedule than a good book? 1 2 3 4
Would you rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall? 1 2 3 4
Do you think every home should have a microfilm reader? 1 2 3 4
Do you know every county clerk in your state by name? 1 2 3 4
Do city clerks lock their doors when they see you coming? 1 2 3 4
Are you more interested in what happened in 1797 than 1997? 1 2 3 4
Are you clothes under the bed and your closet filled with carefully stacked notebooks and files? 1 2 3 4
Do you remember your ancestors' surnames for 20 generations, but forget what you call your spouse or children? 1 2 3 4
Does most of your correspondence begin with "Dear Cousin"? 1 2 3 4
If you had traced every one of your ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve and have it ALL FULLY DOCUMENTED, would you THEN be willing to quit??? 1 2 3 4
Total your score and see just how addicted you have become. Fifteen and under, you're safe. No addiction yet; 16 to 30, your addiction is only mild; up to 40, a serious affliction; over 41, you're a GENEALOGIST!
Dollarhide's Rules For Genealogy
....by William Dollarhide
How often has one or more of these happened to you?
1. Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equals...even if some of them were in jail.
2. Death certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.
3. When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and look like you have about a week to live...the funeral director will give you anything you ask for, if he thinks you may soon be his next customer.
4. The cemetery where your ancestor was buried does not have perpetual care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs... and many of the old gravestones are in broken pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.
5. A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.
6. The application for a death certificate you want insists that you provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother...which is exactly what you don't know and is the reason you are trying to get the death certificate in the first place.
7. If you call Social Security and ask where to write for a birth certificate, tell them it is for yourself...they won't help you if you say you want one for your great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather who died in 1642.
8. When you contact the state vital statistics office in your home state and ask if they are "online," and they respond, "on what?", you may have a problem.
9. A census record showing all twelve children in a family proves only that your ancestors did not believe in birth control.
10. Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.
11. With any luck, some of the people in your family could read and write...and may have left something written about themselves.
12. It ain't history until it's written down. (See #19)
13. A genealogist needs to be a detective. Just gimme da facts Ma'am.
14. Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for great fun to see who throws the first punch.
15. The genealogy book you just found out about went out of print last week.
16. A good genealogical event is learning that your parents were really married.
17. Finding the place a person lived may lead to finding that person's arrest record.
18. It's really quite simple. First, you start with yourself, then your parents, then your grandparents... then you QUIT... and start teaching classes in genealogy.
19. If it's not written down, it ain't history yet. (See #12)
20. In spite of MTV, computer games, or skateboards, there is always a chance that your grandchildren will learn how to read someday.
21. "To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead, but don't commune with the dead so long that you forget that you are living!" (From "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt).
22. It is a known fact that St. Peter checks all your Family Group Sheets for accuracy before you are allowed to enter the Pearly Gates.
23. Locating the county where your ancestor lived is the first step in finding records about the time he was hauled into court for shooting his neighbor's dog, threatening the census taker with a shotgun, and for making illegal corn whiskey behind the barn.
24. A cousin, once removed, may not return.
25. When leaving town for genealogical research, you will always find information on the ancestor for whom you brought no notes.
26. When in a courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55pm on Friday afternoon.
27. Research in one county that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation.
28. The tombstone you want to find is always located in the extreme opposite corner of the cemetery to where you started your search.
29. The page on the census where your ancestor's town was enumerated has no page number.
30. That cemetery in Missouri where your great-grandparents were buried is now called "Interstate 70."
31. The 1892 newspaper article, describing your ancestor as a child winning the grade school spelling bee, will misspell her name.
32. Your ancestor will be featured in the county history because he was the first prisoner in the new jail.
33. Your ancestor moved frequently, and sold all of his property to his children before he died to avoid probate.
34. The query you found in an old magazine was placed by an unknown cousin...who died two years ago.
35. The courthouse containing the information critical to your research is always closed for renovation on the day before you arrive.
36. The roll of microfilm you need for county research is the only roll in the drawer that has been sent out for repair work that day.
37. The Post Office shown on the census page where your ancestors are listed is for a town, which appears on no-known map ever published.
38. The oldest living person in the county has never heard of your ancestor who lived there years ago.
39. Genealogy is the examination of the maximum amount of data in the maximum amount of time for a minimum result.
40. If you find a query in an old periodical giving two related names for which you are searching, it will be a query that you placed yourself four years ago and forgot about.
41. You always receive more E-mail about your ancestors the day before you are scheduled to go on vacation.
42. If you took family group sheets to the last wedding you attended, you are probably an addicted genealogist.
43. If you can remember your ancestor's marriage date but not your own, you are probably an addicted genealogist.
44. Genealogy is an addiction with no cure and for which no 12-step program is available.
.........Submitted by Raylene Lamb