Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why we do family history

I saw this message today and I really liked it so I thought I would share. It was the speech given last week at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Broadcast.

Delivered On: July 25th 2010
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

To Know Our Heritage

It’s a hobby focused on obscure dates and places from hundreds of years ago. Yet it is so popular today it has eclipsed stamp collecting, coin collecting, and even gardening as one of the world’s favorite pastimes. Whether you call it family history or genealogy, the pursuit of finding one’s ancestry has filled libraries with earnest seekers willing to roll through miles of microfilm to find just one name. It has inspired Web sites, television programs, how-to books, classes, and conferences.

What is it that we find so captivating about reaching back to find people who have long since gone on? Famed author and genealogist Alex Haley has observed: “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness."

So we search and ponder about our ancestry. There’s little bit of detective in most of us, and family history builds on that tendency. Birth and death dates are just a beginning. In the search, we may find that our lineage reaches back to royalty. More likely, we learn that our folk were a lot like us – the modest type who did their best to earn a living and loved their families.

They may have fought in wars, and perhaps they crossed the ocean by steamer or clipper with practically nothing in hand, hoping their children would someday have more. They may have joined the great westward migration and buried children along the way. Our ancestry may include preachers, cooks, farmers, gold miners, or mothers of 10. Regardless of their background and circumstances, we lay claim to some of their best characteristics – things like persistence, grit, goodwill, generosity, humor, loyalty, and faith. 

All history is really family history, one generation after another. With each find comes a sense of belonging to something much bigger than this day, this time, this place. Indeed, with family history we find ourselves in what might just be called good company.

No comments:

Post a Comment