If you can make your ancestors real for yourself, learn their stories and who they were, your life – and death – will take on added meaning. You will see yourself in the Big Picture that includes all human life that has come and gone on the planet.
Laurence Overmire, Digging for Ancestral Gold
I’m compiling and organizing my family history In a pictorial and narrative format that I can more easily understand with the hope that it will be of interest and value to those who will follow me. I treasure volumes of genealogy that hard-working relatives have put together, but I find it a challenge to wade through it all to find where I fit.
Wrapping story around names will bring them to life in a way pedigree charts can’t. Weaving in current events of the time will add another layer to give these ancestors dimension.
As an adoptee, tales of my birth family passed down through storytelling around kitchen tables, or in the back yard while shelling peas and drinking lemonade, have been missing. They were not in me and therefore, they are not in my children and grandchildren. I must do something about that.
As a reunited adoptee I bear a solemn responsibility to ensure these stories, and the history I come to understand, are preserved for future generations of mine. This mending of that which was severed is part of why reconnection is so important.
If I don’t this it will all be lost when I’m gone and I will not have been generous with the gifts I’ve received. I can’t not do this and remain a person of integrity.
I am who I am, in part, because of who my ancestors were. They are in me. So too, will we collectively, and subtly, colour the lives of those who come after us.
So I am putting together a skeleton. An outline. I’m drafting a starting point, for something that I think will be a fall and winter project, while some things are still fresh in my mind from our LLF vacation.
Lord willing, as time goes on and connections are strengthened and more becomes clear, I’ll be able to craft something of value. I’m going to try, anyway.
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Yesterday, over the phone, my granddaughter read the first two chapters of a book she’s writing to me.
I. Was. Blown. Away.
Her teacher commented on her end-of-year report card that Makiya was the best writer she has ever taught—so that’s not just a biased grandma opinion.
I can’t help but wonder where this writing gene, that’s gone from me through my daughter and how continues in my granddaughter, came from. Perhaps I’ll come to understand more as I continue to dig into the mysteries of my roots.
Linda, your post resonated deeply with me. Coincidentally, my daughter and I joined Ancestors.ca a few months ago, and began to work on it. I am not adopted, but my grandmother died during the great 1918 flu epidemic, just after my mother was born, so the thread of her side of the family was lost. We have discovered some amazing sources, and are finally putting together some pieces. It is so rewarding! Thank you for this, and best wishes!
I’m finding Ancestry to be a fascinating place (and a bit of a black hole that I need to put boundaries around!).
My daughter writes. I write. I have a birth cousin who is a writer. I also hd an older adoptive cousin on my A-mom’s side who wrote plays. I figure I get it from 2 angles. Funny thing is after doing DNA, I found that I have a distant bio cousin who shares DNA w my A-mom (and that other cousin who wrote plays!)
Ha! Good for you getting that writing bug from all sides! DNA is fascinating…as is the ongoing consideration of nature vs nurture.
Blessings to you on this journey, Linda.
Thanks so much, Karen.