What is all this hubbub about genealogy?
Updated: May 17
What actually is genealogy or family research?
Technically, genealogy or family research is the practice of researching your ancestors, in reality it is actually a study of yourself. Genealogy over the past 10 - 15 years as become extremely popular, boarding on an obsession. I believe this is because of the evolution of technology, specifically the development and growth along with easy access to the world wide web. The internet has allowed for the ability of millions, even billions of records to be uploaded to research libraries, repositories and genealogy specific websites such as Ancestry.com and Family Search and even small local historical societies. I've often wondering if genealogy would be as popular as it has become if folks had to research the old fashion way? That being, spending hours upon hours sitting in a library's reading room trawling through miles of microfich, as we once did pre millenium. To be honest I don't think it would be
“If you don't know your history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of tree”
Im 52 years old...I can honestly tell you that I've been around the landscape of genealogy for for 39 years. How? Why? Because genealogy for me has been about finding...me! It's been about finding where abouts in this world this Margy belongs. Who I belong to and who my blood relatives, both maternal and paternal, were. The ultimately prize for me was to find my real surname.
Genealogy has a nak of delivering little surprises, mostly when you least expect it. Digging deep into your family background you're bound to discover information that was long forgotten. Forgotten either naturally through the passage of time or purposely hidden for a multitude of reasons that you probably will never know the reason for. It's a akin to playing chinese whispers between generations. Truths get distorted, added to, forgotten, lied about and even made love to over time. I can cite so many instances where a whole entire family will swear black and blue they are descendants of some far distant rich noble or some famous warrior only to discover that in actual fact their connection was base on another ancestors wild made up story or an ancestor had been a domestic in service to a noble family. Dark skin within a family is a classic for misinterpretation, especially in countries like Australia or North America where being Aboriginal or First Nations is romanticised or qualifies you for some form of monetary gain.
Genealogy is like an archeologist digging through layers of dirt, mud and rock...each layer represents a specific time period, a different era, a different civilization a different way of being, of thinking, of dressing, of believing. However, one thing though the centuries of time that has never changed, is our ability of our human ancestor to love.
Its safe to say that different people will describe the practice of genealogy as many things...but ultimately it is only about one thing in reality...it's about discovering who you are and were in this big ol' world you belong.