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Getting to Know Your Ancestors

Researching Patterns and Cycles.

Studying family ancestry is like studying the rings of a tree, and like a family tree, it shows pattern and cycles. The re-occurrence of occupation, the decision for relocation and putting down roots can be patterns within a family, within a lineage. Marriage patterns exist too. In my own family, brothers of one family married sisters of another family back through generations. Seeing this pattern offered an understanding of how close-knit farming communities lived in Illinois in the 1800s. The discovery never really stops; I think that’s what I like about it. Like peeling an onion, there’s always another layer or frame of reference that evokes time and place and connection.

Gifts of Heritage.

Another piece of discovery is opening the gifts given to us by our ancestors and our ancestor’s lives. What my ancestors struggled to give us – their descendants – were pieces of life that they valued for their children and grandchildren. I’m pretty sure my father and I disagreed about what artistic originality means, what giving to the greater good means, but that has not lessened what each of us decided to do with our lives. And the study of that life, that pattern, is what gives us awareness and meaning and connection to our ancestors.

Memories and Photos.

I’ve lugged lens and DSLRs all over the U.S., Mexico City, London and Aix en Provence. I’ve waited patiently for that one-in-million photo that evokes a time and a place. Heavy DSLRs finally moved over for their lighter cousins – point-and-shoot cameras show rain storm pictures taken from inside a car, desert animals, trees, and my brother’s kids. But I never took photos of family gatherings and headstones before I began my search for ancestors and my business in genealogy. Now I stop at cemeteries my ancestors are not buried in, just to enjoy the beauty of a beloved resting place. I’ve also never bothered with shots of family gatherings, yet there I was this past Christmas, pulling out the camera and asking everyone to say yes into the camera one more time. Perhaps it’s not a completely odd marriage. Photos have a way, like the discovery of a piece of one’s family history, of displaying people and places we’ve never really looked at – like age or culture or family resemblance.

Getting to Know Your Ancestor’s Lives.

Do you want to learn more about your family lineage? How many files of family facts and photos do you have? Are they preserved? Can you share them with other family members? Do you have a big interest in your family lineage but little time to do the research and store the data and any photos and information you may find? Let’s sit down and develop a research plan that will help you uncover the evidence of your heritage and preserve and celebrate your family’s history.

I can research your family lineage and give you the evidence, research reports, family tree charts, along with the discovery of new information about your ancestors that you can share and pass on to others. Email me at the address below or contact me through my website.

Here’s to celebrating ancestry!