I often thought that the word Genealogy was a very cold word. It is a science in which a researcher brings names together through documented proof thus establishing family ties. Genealogy does not give the names characteristics or personalities. It does not create a history in which the names existed or explain the pains and reasons behind the footsteps they made for succeeding generations. Genealogy is a fact gathering science. I prefer the name Family Historian. The science of genealogy is kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and I often find myself searching for that lost piece. As I go I organize like pieces together in groups always searching for the one piece that will make them all fit together. Along the way I have discovered that the facinating part of the search is not the names but the History that links the pieces together. A puzzle piece with a personality has much more meaning to me than a piece with only one color.
I have often been asked how do I move the theory of genealogy to the practice of Family Historian. A good genealogist takes the time to become more than just a name gatherer. They become historians of the times, the places, and the movements of the names they are working with. They are constantly looking at neighbors, migration trends, history of the area, epidemics, political movements, and churches that might have affected the movements of the names they are gathering. History Books become relevent parts of their research. Land Records become more than just deeds and titles but stories about real people and real needs. Wars become more than just history but an intregal part of a names life often explaining sudden deaths, migrations, and missing family members. Political movements touched the lives of many names throughout history creating stories that should be written, explained and learned from. Wills often shed light on family relations both good and bad adding detail and life to otherwise simple names.
Genealogy may be a cold name but adding depth and history to it makes it a warm and satisfying experience. I may be a genealogist but above all I strive to be a Family Historian, creating stories with facts and personalities to the names I find. Creating a legacy of hope and honor filled with Pioneer determination for my descendents to read, understand and learn from. There is so much to be learned by adding the history to the names for those who walk after us.
Take the time to look a little deeper add the history to your ancestors. Gather more than just names. Remember they were once people with personalities, hopes and dreams and they each had a story to tell if you will just take the time to find it.