Why Genealogy

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on the bones and ask them to live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe.

All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story, so we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family, you would be so proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I can not say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can not let this happen.

The bones there are bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resolution to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long family storytellers.

That is why I do family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.

Author: Bob Dunn

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and come to visit you

Author: Unknown


It Is The Soldier

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag.
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC

TThe Recording Of A Cemetery
bby Thelma Greene Reagan

Today we walked where others walked,
On a lonely, windswept hill;
Today we talked where others cried,
For Loved Ones whose lives are stilled.

Today our hearts were touched,
By graves of tiny babies;
Snatched from the arms of loving kin,
In the heartbreak of the ages.

Today we saw where grandparents lay,
In the last sleep of their time;
Lying under the trees and clouds,
Their beds kissed by the sun and wind.

Today we wondered about an unmarked spot,
Who lies beneath this hollowed ground?
Was it a babe, child young or old?
No indication could be found.

Today we saw where Mom and Dad lay,
We had been here once before;
On a day we'd all like to forget,
But will remember forever more.

Today we recorded for kith and kin,
The graves of ancestors past;
To be preserved for generations hence,
A record we hope will last.

Cherish it, my friend; preserve it, my freind,
For stones sometimes crumble to dust;
And generations of folks yet to come,
will be grateful for your trust


When relatives depart this life, our love for them we find, is stored in hearts as memories in all they leave behind

It's known as genealogy to young ones when they've grown; it tells them of our earthly love for those we might have known.

We think of those who lived before while traveling down life's lane, a drop of blood from each of them, flowing in our veins.

They fought so gallantly in war and settled new frontiers, to make our lands a better place to live in later years.

And, as we know they made mistakes and acted humanly, when they were young and temptable, just like you and me.

The day we enter Paradise, and angels show us in, When they turn to us and say "please meet your early kin", Will we hide our eyes and drop our heads and say in shame, "I'm sorry but in mortal life I never heard your names"?

But no! We'll raise our heads up high to meet their loving gaze, and say "Oh yes! I know you and of your earthly days. Someone wrote the story of how you lived your life; of times of joy and happiness, and yes, of pain and strife."

And if my work is handed down I will not be surprised When descendants come to Paradise and I am recognized

Author:  Unknown
Source:  Chris Matha

Happy are the young dead,
Who never lived to see
One by one their hopes sped
To where no hope may be;
Who never knew the heartache
That is the kin of care,
And never suffered heartbreak
That’s bred of bleak despair;
Who never watched their dreams crushed
As grist beneath the mill,
And never heard their prayers hushed
Till prayer was mute and still.

Happy are the young dead!
How peaceful is their rest!
Untroubled every young head
By time eternal blest,
They never guessed that laughter
(For all that they were wise)
A hurt to follow after
Could be a thin disguise.
The never knew a sorrow
More lasting then their fears,
Which vanished with the ‘morrow
As vanished children’s tears.

Happy are the young dead,
Whose hopes turned not to rust;
Who never saw their dreams spread
In ashes and in dust;
Who loved, and died believing
That all the world is true,
Yet left it without grieving
To seek one shining new.
For there they live in gladness,
And there they laugh and play
Afar from grief and sadness
For ever and a day.

Author: Edmumd Leamy

It was the first day of census, and all through the land
The pollster was ready..a black book in hand
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side
A long winding ride down a road barely there
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up through the air
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place
She gave him some water...as they sat at the table
And she answered his questions...the best she was able
He asked of her children...Yes, she had quite a few
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed
He noted each person who lived there with pride
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside
He noted the sex, the color, the age
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page
At the number of children, she nodded her head
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead
The places of birth she "never forgot"
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon...or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such
They could read some and write some...though really not much
When the questions were answered, his job there was done
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear
"May God bless you all for another ten years"
Now picture a time warp...its' now you and me
As we search for the people on our family tree
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow
As we search for that entry from long, long ago
Could they only imagine on that long ago day that the entries they made
would effect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real
We can hear if we listen the words they impart
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart

Author Unknown

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease..
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"

When a flag! had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington .
No, freedom isn't free.

Author Unknown




I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath,
but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even
Used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks,
and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had
been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much
furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron,
and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace
that "old-time apron" that served so many purposes.

Author:  Unknown