Some would say that family historians/genealogists are obsessed with the dead, and that perspective is somewhat understandable.
Some would say that family historians/genealogists find it hard to stop researching the dead and spend more time on the living- occasionally that is true as well, especially at 2am.
Some would also say it is just weird that family historians/genealogists remember the special days of the dead, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or death dates; that assessment may have some element of truth as well.
It can be argued, however, that the yearning to know more about those who have gone before, to hold them close in one’s heart, is really what drives those who spend countless hours searching for the minutiae of a life. It can be the need to tell an ancestor’s story, so that they are not forgotten; it can be a way to hold on to them just a bit longer, to not let them go “to the other side” just yet, especially for those the family historian has known in this life and loved deeply. It can be a way to not say a final “good bye” so soon, to help a loved one linger in the hearts of others for just a bit longer, too.
Family historians/genealogists also want to understand their inner selves more, to know where this trait or that look came from, and connect themselves to those who have gone before through these commonalities. How can we know our place in the universe without the context of our being?
Sharing the lives of our ancestors is a gift that family historians/genealogists wish to give to their own descendants, their collateral kin, and even the world- history is the story of every life, truly, not just those who fought wars or those who started them.
Becoming a family historian/genealogist is not always a conscious choice- a muse, an inner drive, or even the voices of our ancestors move us to travel along their journeys. We want to leave a legacy of that knowledge for those we love now, and those we will love in the future, even after we are gone.
Family historians/genealogists LOVE, and are a part of the chain of love that is family.
Today we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Mary Theresa Helbling McMurray, a woman full of love.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Family treasure chest of photos.
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