Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Why I Do What I Do: The Motivation That Keeps Me Climbing

I spent some time today reading an article about an interview a professional podcaster had with a famous multiracial journalist while she answered questions about her recent book about her life. One statement she said resonated with me and nicely summed up my own investigation of my family history, though it is very different from hers...mine is not multiracial and my Dad did not grow up in a Norman Rockwell postcard, though, like hers, my past emanates mostly from Western Europe. Here is what she said:

My father grew up in a Norman Rockwell postcard. His mother was a stay-at-home mom, his father was a rural mailman, they had six kids. But how did we get to be these people? We came from Europe and landed in Iowa. But why did we land in Iowa? And, more importantly, who was there before us?

Learning how "we" got to be the people we are; how "we" got here, wherever that is; why "we" landed where we did, whether Massachusetts, Utah, or New Hampshire, and not somewhere else; and who was there before us, well, those are the basic questions that constitute my interest in my family tree. That is why I do what I do; not merely to put a name before "...my (x)th great-grandmother," but to learn something about her, her family, her neighbors, what was happening in her world, why she made what would have been an expensive, arduous journey, and how it eventually influenced and impacted my own journey. Of course, I have specific questions:
  • When and why did my Utah ancestors end up there?
  • Where did they start from and why did they leave? 
  • Who was the first Latter-day Saint in my tree and why did that person choose that specific Christian denomination? 
  • All my LDS ancestors were all followers, but did that first one know Joseph Smith personally?
  • Do I have a relative that came over on the Mayflower ship? 
  • If not, which ship brought those early ancestors and were they related to any of the Mayflower passengers? 
  • What kept my Salem, Massachusetts, ancestors from being hung as witches...or were some of them?
We all have a reason for pursuing an investigation into our ancestry and for making the climb up our family tree. For each of us, the answer is personal and correct...and different from the next person.

What is yours?

No comments:

Post a Comment