Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And as for fortune, and as for fame

Although unlike Evita Peron, in the words sung from the Broadway Show, (Don't Cry For Me Argentina lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber}I have neither fortune nor fame and pursuing a course of genealogical involvement I am unlikely to achieve either. So, if there is no earthly reward for my efforts to bring order to the chaotic genealogical universe, why am I so motivated?

The simple explanation is religious. But unfortunately, in my case, that may have been the beginning of the story, but not the second and third chapters and on through a very lengthy process of drama and discovery. If the motivation were solely religious, then why me and not 14 million other people? I think part of the answer comes from early decisions I made to emphasize my own family, meaning my wife and children, over any other interest. But that also was only part of the answer.

Genealogy has a combination of relevance and intellectual challenge. Having a legal background gives me certain analytic skills, but again, I know very, very few attorneys who gravitate towards a total involvement in genealogy at the expense of their interests in travel, work, sports and other interests. Then again, I do love a good mystery and genealogy is certainly very akin to detective work. In my case, I think the basic motivation comes from a compulsion to finish things undone. Genealogy is the classic open ended pursuit. You can never come to the end or a conclusion. There is always one more problem, one more source or one more solution to prove.

But why complicate matters by writing a blog that is only loosely about genealogy? Unlike some, I did not do well early on as a writer. I think the main reason was physical and mechanical. It was a terrible tedious chore for me to write by hand. The ideas were there, but the process of putting them down on paper was too painful. Along come computers. Finally, at their present level, you can write without hardly a thought about the mechanical process. Despite my lack of physical coordination, I seem to take to keyboarding without any problems. This is especially true when I have automatic spelling and grammar checkers. My main difficulty is leaving out words.

So now we have a combination of interest, fascination, involvement, and a correspondence with technology that make for an almost irresistible combination: genealogy and endless pursuit that unlike jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles, there is underlying meaning and substance and no finality. If I had a choice, I would be out in the mountains and deserts taking pictures, but genealogy gives me no choices. I cannot abandon now what I have begun. I will keep at it until senility or disease stop me in my tracks.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi James,

    For me its the needle in the haystack. Then on to the next needle.

    Genealogy the good & the bad of it. I enjoyed reading this post.