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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Do You Know Your Past?

"He who does not know his past cannot make the best of his present and future, for it is from the past that we learn."
Shaikh Zayed

Genealogy can appear to be a trivial pursuit of names and dates. But when we learn about our past, as the quote above indicates, we learn how to make the best of our present and our future. As my wife and I serve as Senior Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are daily involved in history. We are called to serve as Record Preservation Specialists to serve in the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. We are digitizing probate records for the Archives. Copies of these important historical records will be made available on I have been chronicling our experiences on my other blog, Rejoice, and Be Exceeding Glad... Yesterday, for example, in preparing documents for digitization, my wife Ann, found some documents signed by our first president, George Washington.

With this constant and very immediate contact with history, we can't help be reflect on our own personal histories and those of our ancestors. Fortunately, we have a lot of assistance from FamilySearch and from the Church, in general, helping us to learn about our history. For example, my direct line ancestor, Sidney Tanner, who was my Great-great-grandfather has the following connections in the Family Tree provided by FamilySearch.

These historical links show that he crossed the Plains three times (at least) and also lived in Nauvoo, Illinois. For me, after having done genealogical research for years, this is not new news. But for many others, these connections may open up a whole world of family history that they were not previously aware of. There is also a Life Sketch of Sidney Tanner.

Of course, these entries and all this information did not just magically appear in the program. It came from the diligent research of generations of genealogists. But the Family Tree is more than a place to park your genealogy. It can be and should become a vast resource for historical information about all of your ancestors.

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