Saturday, October 28, 2006

Family History

I'm curious about the reasons people get into genealogy. Like, really get into genealogy. It's difficult and tedious work, but lots of people choose to spend most of their free time in the pursuit of this obscure information.

So what's the payoff? A feeling of connectness? A surprise celebrity relative? A claim on a patch of Irish farmland?

If I were to form an opinion from the genealogy customers at my store, I would probably go with the celebrity aspect. These folks are all eager to tell me about their relation to Pocahontas, The Kennedys, or Dolly Parton. They all seem to have some Cherokee blood.
The only talk of genealogy in our house growing up were references to Ireland, Andy Williams and Madame DeBerry. As if 150 years of family could be distilled to a couple of bragging rights.

So this morning, I signed up for a free trial to ancestry.com and played around for about half an hour.
The fun stuff: getting to see handwritten census documents from the turn of the century and exploring all the family names. Matilda, Morris, Abner, Range, Clara etc...
But a half hour is all it took to grow bored of the pursuit.
I just don't care about this stuff. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my living relatives much less drawing up trees full of abstractions. Is it because I'm adopted? I dunno. Maybe?

Someday I'll just be a name on a family tree chart and I'm ok with that. The people I know and who actually mean something to me are all that matter.

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