Sunday, February 24, 2008

Genealogical Research: Some Rewards and Staying Enthusiastic

I have again been reminded of how much enjoyment I receive from doing genealogical research--even when it’s someone else’s ancestors I’m seeking. Recently, I was contacted by someone regarding two surnames represented in my family tree. Once I started looking for a connection with the individuals, I was hooked. (You fellow family historians know the feeling, don’t you?!) I believe that this person’s polite inquiry and enthusiasm was all I required to “drop everything” and find out all I could about these families. Essentially for the few hours I dedicated to uncovering information about these people, I was rewarded not only by the data and documents I found, but also by the joyful appreciation of the recipient of the information.

Personally, I feel rejuvenated when family members volunteer information and show enthusiasm over my family history finds. I would love to know how family input and feedback affect the search for your ancestors. Also, if you please, what are your thoughts about how to kindle in others the enthusiasm we share for uncovering our family histories?

1 comment:

macdevotee said...

[Originally posted Fri, 4 Jul 2008.]

From an interesting article I read called "Chinese Roots":

"Some years before, my father-in-law had written a memoir, so that his grandchildren would have some understanding of his life and their past. The manuscript was a remarkable document, tracing his childhood in a wealthy family in Tianjin (70 miles southeast of Beijing), through the tumultuous years of war and revolution in the 1930s and ’40s, to 18 years of imprisonment in Mao’s China....

...the treasure we had been hoping to find: a 12-volume family genealogy reaching back to the fourteenth century and filled with a wealth of material: a complete family tree, moral codes to guide proper behavior, and many biographies. My father-in-law and his brothers had seen such a text years ago during the Cultural Revolution, but a genealogical record of connections to a 'feudal' past was a dangerous thing to have then and the copies in Beijing had been lost or destroyed. In the countryside, however, especially where local party officials were members of one’s own family, such genealogies were quietly stored away and thus survived."