Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Researching the past...

Lately I have been obsessed with following my family routes and retracing my family tree. I have been compiling data and seeing how far back I could trace my relatives. It has actually been really fun and exciting. Every time I successfully locate a name, birthday, or missing person on my tree, I get giddy. Or when I find a draft registration card from my Grandfather, that I never even knew enlisted during World War II. Or when I discover my family can be traced back to Nova Scotia, etc. It is hard work, but so far has been very rewarding and interesting.

When I tell you it can get overwhelming depending on how far back you want to go. I mean each person has two sets of parents/bloodlines who also have two sets of parents/bloodlines and so on and so on. Now I can see how people trace their family routes for multiple decades! My Dad recently told me that he can give me one of my bloodlines dated all the way back to knighthood. During my trip home to Boston in a week he will let me take it back here with me to add to my research and my tree. On my Mom's side I recently struck paydirt too. My Great Grandfather was one of 21 children!!!! Can you imagine how many family members that spawned and how much history is there? So I started trying to locate their records and their names etc. My research has led me to other people (distant relatives) who have done a lot of the work for me, and lucky for me they are eager to share their hard work with me to save me lots of time.

And today, I got an email from one of my Great Grandfather's 20 siblings. (I believe she is the baby of the family). She should be starting her 70's this decade. My Aunt Louise was thrilled to hear I was tracking the family history and told me she has so much information to send me about the 21 siblings in her family. How amazing is that? She was on an email distribution list that I queried looking for information on my family name. What a cool email that was.

However, this family research comes with a price. And I am not talking about time and hours and MONEY cause it comes with all that too. There is an emotional price to be paid for this research. Because the more information I get, the more regret I have that I didn't have the kind of relationship with my Grandparents and Great Grandparents where we sat and talked about their history, their family, their lives. I wish I had family stories to pass on, or traditions, etc. Sometimes I feel envious of other cultures around the World that so fiercely hold on to their customs and traditions and pass them from generation to generation, and here I am at 32 years old trying to figure out where my blood lines can be traced to? French Canadian? English? Swedish, etc.

I wish I could go back in time while I had my Grandparents/Great Grandparents here and ask them about growing up in their era, the Great Depression, living through World Wars, and all the pain and suffering they caused, living through good times too. Experiencing civil rights, and Women's rights movements. I am suddenly filled with so much desire and longing to know who these people were in their youth (how far did they go in school, what did they do for work, what was it like having that many children in one house, what was it like growing up with so many siblings, etc) Instead of just as I knew them as my Nana who brought me and my siblings stickers and yummy treats every Saturday night and sat in my living room eagerly anticipating our dance performances. The Nana who taught me how to play Milbourne, and Skip-bo and other fun games (and yes would even cheat against her Grandkids if she could get away with it). I long to have more info about her parents, and her Grandparents and her great grandparents... And although I can collect names, I can never collect their stories as only they can tell them.

I want my children to know where they came from and am recording almost every part of their lives for them on my family blog so they can share it with their kids someday. The Internet will do amazing things for recording families and histories and preserving memories and photos.

Wish me luck and stay tuned for updates.

1 comment:

  1. That is incredible! I couldn't imagine all of those siblings! You are awesome to track all of that history for your girls! I am sure they will thank you for it! I am sorry that you didn't get to hear stories first hand.