Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Shoulders We Stand On

I thought this interest in gathering the family history was a late life phenomenon. I go to my genealogy classes and they are populated with older people, taught by even older people. Our great-grandfather documented all the descendants from his surname immigrant in New England, an indentured servant to the colony of Dover, New Hampshire in the early 1600's. But I recall even in my thirties looking in phone books for others with the same family names, even writing to them at times. Once I received a long letter back from a woman on a wheat farm in Montana who didn't know anything about the family. I figured she was just lonely out there and wanted to make a connection. In her younger years Patty spent time on the family tree after the Internet opened up information until she became so consumed that she had to pack everything up and mail it to me.

My foray back into the family history was inspired by wanting to be a D.A.R., a Daughter of the American Revolution, since I knew we must have at least one Revolution patriot, half blood New Englanders that we are. Saying you have one isn't enough, you have to "prove" it with documentation of every generation going back to the 1700's.

I took classes and got my D.A.R. through the New Hampshire patriot researched by our great grandfather, and along the way found other Revolution patriots as well as frontiersmen and women, migrations where no roads or rivers were evident, cousins fighting cousins on the same battlefields, tragic losses of children.

I found not all those searching for ancestors are late lifers. We just have more time. And so, I am looking for those not yet found, source documenting those we know, and I'll be putting up some of their stories here. It's the stories I wonder about. How did they live? Did they have enough to eat? What was it like learning the next settlement had just been massacred by Indians? What made them pick up and move on even further into the frontier? How did they have ten babies with no medical care and no help?

Tune in. If you are family, look to meet people you didn't know. And if you're not family, perhaps you'll be inspired to find your own.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Can't wait to read your stories, Kath!