When one begins the journey of finding those that have come before them, it is especially important to be ready to confront some of the realities of their life as it was. The series "Who Do You Think You Are?" is full of just such pondering. Below is the first episode in the long search for Actress Kim Cattrell. Please take a moment and listen to the beginning of her story as she searches for important answers in her life.
It is easy to get caught up in the emotional part of her story. Like anyone else we hope she finds the answers that she seeks, and that they are acceptable to her.
Many people find this, as the hardest barrier to researching their past.
What if so-in-so was a beggar man, thief? Or worse? What deep dark secrets has my family kept for all these years?
And the all important one? Do I really want to know?
The answer is yes.... You do. Why?
I have been doing genealogy research for a number of years with my mother and cousins. I can tell you unequivatably that what you will find, will strengthen you. Understandings are never too late in any one's life. Peace comes to those who seek understanding.
Genealogy does not define you as a person. Rather it gives you the power to define who you are, and where you came from. It explores why you eat what you eat, practice the faith you do, even wear the clothes that you wear. It answers where your family traditions came from. Why you think, and talk the way you do.
It lets you define yourself.
My research going back hundreds of years, has taught me more about the living part of history than any book could have. How? Because I am attached to people who lived that history. I know what part of history my family took part in. Whether you are a immigrant of the 1600's to America or a more recent patriot. You have a unique story that is beautiful in all of it's telling.
Because it is your story.
Yes, I have learned some things I never knew. The next important step is to put them into historical context. You may recognize the old adage, "You do not know someone, until you have walked in their shoes?" Genealogy puts this into action.
That is what genealogy is about to me. Putting on new shoes, learning new things, and most importantly learning what they mean to me.
So I encourage you to take classes in genealogy. Your local library is a good source. Look also for recognized organizations such as the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, The Sons of American Revolution. There are so many lineage societies and truly devoted and qualified genealogist who can help you on your journey.
It is a journey of a lifetime, and definitely one you should not miss!