Friday, November 12, 2010

To Genealogist Everywhere: We are the Chosen

We are the chosen. 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.

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? 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 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. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. 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 the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. 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 they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to the one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.

This is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we have never known before. So we do.

Author Unknown


  1. Wonderful Post. I believe that those who research those in the past are the connection to the future

  2. This speaks to me on so many levels. No idea who wrote it though? I'd like to refer to it and credit the source.


  3. A friend on Google+ found the source: by Della M. Cummings Wright; Rewritten by her granddaughter Dell Jo Ann McGinnis Johnson; Edited and Reworded by Tom Dunn, 1943."
    as per this website -

  4. Thanks for this source Joan, and thanks to Della M. Cummings Wright.

  5. You speak from my heart; for I recognize your words as they also come from my lips.

  6. What a wonderful statement of the motivation of the family genealogist

  7. Thank you, your words have expressed exactly what I feel but was not able to say.

  8. Totally agree with this post, beautiful words, so lovely to read, as anyone who does geneology can , more than likely relate to this. And more than likely will feel the same. We also do it , so that our younger ones, can KNOW. about how important family is to us and our descendants are equally as important also.Brilliant post Well Done

  9. The thought is expressed so well! Perhaps it will help us to explain our dedication to those who are not genealogists.