Monday, November 5, 2012

What Kind of Genealogist Am I?

I struggle a bit finding my identity in this pursuit of genealogy. I'm operating in Mom's shadow and she's a classic genealogist. She has worked since the early 1970s at building out her tree, using solid skills and a system all her own. She started her tree on paper way back when, and still has those original 3 by 5 inch cards and family group sheets. She calls herself a pack rat, and thank the powers that be for her! And for all 70,000 plus people on her Big Tree!

So here I come after all the hard work has been done. It's great because now we both share this passion. At 94, I do know how lucky I am to have arrived at this juncture with Mom ... and that neither of us have fallen off the edge of the world in the meantime;)

But what work is there for me to do? I'm not complaining, mind you. Far from it! I rejoice in the wealth of information Mom has compiled. But I find that under this particular circumstance I do ramble from brick wall to brick wall, stumbling along over ground that both Mom and Aunt Betty have already worked deeply. Therefore, this newbie is stuck working on the most difficult problems! Guess it's a good learning experience. And I have two pros to guide me.

I've identified a couple of brick wall problem that I'll continue to cut my teeth on and so there's that to keep me busy. But I find as time goes by that I'm probably a different kind of genealogist... or maybe not a genealogist at all. More like a family historian. I love the stories. I love asking why they did that. Love compiling facts and seeing if they match the family lore that's been passed down, and how the family lore passed on one line of descendants matches or is different than another line. Fascinating stuff for me!

Maybe it's in the universe's wisdom that Mom and I are two different people with different passions. While I'm busy imagining how DNA testing might be used to see if the House and Biggerstaff males shared a common male ancestor thus proving my GGGF's real paternity beyond flimsy records from West Virginia in 1832, Mom is most interested in finding those hidden and elusive records.

Today's photo from the file:

Congregational Church Ladies Aide Society
Picnic, about 1935.
Frostburg, Maryland.

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