Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why do people collect the leaves on their trees?

In families, there are the few people who decide they will collect the family information. In the past, it might have been written into the family Bible.  Or it was kept at the family church, the dates of marriages, births, baptisms, funerals.  The Census collectors write down the names of as many people as they can interview, sadly sometimes misspelling the names of the tenants.

And then there are people who have lost interest or have no interest.  We have become a society of potential nomads.  We move for jobs and come home for holidays far less frequently.  We live in single occupancy dwellings, for Christ sakes!  We are tribal animals.  That is just not normal.  It promotes isolation.  This is not to say that I haven't lived alone for a large portion of my adult life.  I'm not judging it, just commenting on the advent of it.  We used to live three generations in a home or at least within blocks of each other... Odd.

At any rate, the factors that put me in the first category are: 1) as a social worker, we study the impact of cultural heritage on personality, behavior, traditions and expression of emotions, etc. 2) my grandparents were aware of their cultural heritage and nationality (many Americans do not have this luxury and are told they are "Heinz 57" or "mutts"), 3) as a first generation American on my father's side and not having grown up with him, I have a hunger to know more about where I come from (much like someone who was adopted), 4) my maternal grandmother's family actually has their own genealogical society (Heymann), 5) when I got engaged, I wanted to know more about the two families we would be joining, 6) before my brother's death, he retreated from family relationships, specifically with me, so I turned my attention towards collecting a list of family names, as though somehow that would make it hurt less.

If you are a genealogist, why do you spend time on this hobby?

Here is a history of genealogy:


Historical background

Historically, in Western societies the focus of genealogy was on the kinship and descent of rulers and nobles, often arguing or demonstrating the legitimacy of claims to wealth and power. The term often overlapped with heraldry, in which the ancestry of royalty was reflected in their coats of arms. Modern scholars consider many claimed noble ancestries to be fabrications, such as theAnglo-Saxon chronicles that traced the ancestry of several English kings to the god Woden.
Genealogical research in the United States was first systematized in the early 19th century, especially by John Farmer (1789–1838).[citation needed] Before Farmer's efforts, tracing one's genealogy was seen as an attempt by colonists to secure a measure of social standing within the British Empire, an aim that was counter to the new republic's egalitarian, future-oriented ethos.[citation needed] As Fourth of July celebrations commemorating the Founding Fathers and the heroes of the Revolutionary War became increasingly popular, however, the pursuit of 'antiquarianism,' which focused on local history, became acceptable as a way to honor the achievements of early Americans.[citation needed] Farmer capitalized on the acceptability of antiquarianism to frame genealogy within the early republic's ideological framework of pride in one's American ancestors. He corresponded with other antiquarians in New England, where antiquarianism and genealogy were well established, and became a coordinator, booster, and contributor to the growing movement. In the 1820s, he and fellow antiquarians began to produce genealogical and antiquarian tracts in earnest, slowly gaining a devoted audience among the American people. Though Farmer died in 1839, his efforts led to the creation of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), one of New England's oldest and most prominent organizations dedicated to the preservation of public records.[2] NEHGS publishes the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.
The Genealogical Society of Utah, founded in 1894, later became the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The department's research facility, the Family History Library, which has developed the most extensive genealogical record-gathering program in the world,[citation needed] was established to assist in tracing family lineages for special religious ceremonies that Mormons believe will seal family units together for eternity. Mormons believe that this fulfilled a biblical prophecy stating that the prophet Elijah would return to 'turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.'[3]
In modern times, genealogy became more widespread, with commoners as well as nobility researching and maintaining their family trees.[4] Genealogy received a boost in the late 1970s with the television broadcast of Roots: The Saga of an American FamilyAlex Haley's account of his family line.[5] With the advent of the Internet, the number of resources readily accessible by genealogists has vastly increased, resulting in an explosion of interest in the topic.[6] According to some sources, genealogy is one of the most popular topics on the Internet.[7] The Internet has become not only a major source of data for genealogists, but also of education and communication.

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