Archive for October 24th, 2011

I’ve written here before about the joys of digging through one’s genealogy and finding little bits about your family that have been hidden for generations.  Before I started, I knew next to nothing about my family’s history.  There had been practically nothing handed down and there seemed to be little interest in its past.  For all I knew, we had crawled from under a rock about a hundred years ago and were suddenly just here.  There were times when that seemed like a logical explanation.

But over time, I have uncovered a great depth of material, the sort of things that all families certainly have in their own pasts, that have been really gratifying and have made me feel much more connected to this world and this country than I felt at times before.  I’ve found descendents who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, the British Loyalist side being pushed up into Canada before coming back here generations later.  I’ve had many who fought in the Civil War, including a gr-gr-great grandfather who emigrated here from Scotland and fought for the Union  and was a captive at Andersonville.  Another was a nearly 60 year old Canadian who had settled in the northern Adirondacks and enlisted and served with his son, my great-grand uncle.

All folks of which I was unaware of growing up.  The ease of researching today makes this connection to one’s past so much simpler that I, like so many others, can easily fill in the black voids of our own history.

One of my favorites was another gr-gr-great grandfather, someone of who I knew absolutely nothing.  His name was Joseph Harris and when he died, the local newspaper, the Wellsboro Agitator ( I love the name of that paper!), ran a headline for his obit that stated  Well Known Musician Dies.  It went on to say that he had been the US banjo champion at one point in his life.  I have to say that I was pleased by this, even though I had never even heard of this man before my research and his musical talent didn’t trickle down through the generations to me. 

Again, my stories are not exceptional.  We all have this rich fabric in our past that binds us to history and ultimately together if we only choose to look beyond what we see in the present.  Perhaps we can discover more about who we are as a people by examining our families’ pasts.  I know that I feel more invested in my life and my country than I did before doing this research.  And I guess that is a good thing.



Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: