Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why Genealogy?

I ran across a quote from an unexpected source that pretty well sums up the whole concept of genealogy. The unexpected source was the Costco magazine and a quote from Oprah Winfrey on page 83 or the The Costco Connection for January, 2014, Volume 29, Number 1. Here is the quote:
So help me God, you cannot move forward in your life without a sense of connection to where you are grounded; otherwise, the very first time a storm hits, the very first time you are up against a crisis, you fall apart. That doesn't happen to me. Bad things are going to happen in everybody's life, you're going to have crises, but when you know where you come from and when you absolutely understand the legacy, the history and the ground that's been laid for you, you keep standing because you know that other people have had it worse than you.
 This is the heart and soul of genealogy. Without a connection to your heritage and your past, you are like a boat floating free being carried by the winds with no direction and purpose. Being well grounded in the history of your family, as Oprah Winfrey states, is one of the few ways that you can maintain the emotional balance necessary to confront the complexities and challenges of the world. Those of us involved in genealogy realize  that it is not a pursuit to be undertaken on a whim or for reasons not rooted in our own internal needs to connect with our past. For this reason, I disagree with the characterization of genealogy as a hobby. Crafts are hobbies, genealogy is more than a hobby, it is an entire attitude towards life and the permanency of families. We can hardly grasp the impact investigating our families may have on our culture. In fact, the very future of our lives, families, culture and society as a whole may hinge on our individual depth of understanding of our heritage.

Throughout our lives, we are only successful to the extent that we learn the importance of families. Very little else matters. If our families fail our society will fail. Genealogists are at the forefront of preserving our sense of family and as such, should be absorbed and involved in the issues regarding families.

1 comment:

  1. Well said, James. And a quote that is just "true".
    Genealogy is not just a hobby - it puts your own life into a perspective that teaches you about your life and about the lives of others (not just family members).
    I find it a humbling and good experience that has grounded me in the best sense.