I don’t know when the moment of enlightenment occurred. Perhaps it was a combination of realities converging. Maybe it was meeting my son’s future in-laws. Or, maybe it was emailing a photo of my grandson to my daughter, now Auntie Lisa. Perhaps it’s all of the above but after 30 years of ancestor hunting, I realized that I am an ancestor!
I found it odd not long ago, and as I recall I mentioned this in a blog post, to learn that others, usually distant family relations had me listed in their form of a family history or ‘tree.’ In that case, it was an elderly, now deceased cousin who had passed on to a nephew her ‘family file’ containing notes about various generations and locations of family members, myself included. The nephew tracked me down through the magic of the Internet. After years of being the tracker or hunter, it felt odd to discover I was also being hunted – good, but odd.
Now I realize that their are two generations alive after me I am an ancestor! And, even if I feel much too young to wear that mantle! The benefit of this discovery is that I now know that there are things I can do to assist my descendants that my, and their, ancestors neglected to do.
1. I can identify the family members, and any others, that appear in family photos. I have far too many old family photo albums containing pictures of people I don’t know because my parents and grandparents didn’t write names and dates on the back of the photos. I can at least do that for the many photos for which I have that information.
2. I can organize all of the hundreds of family documents that I have acquired over the years so that they make sense to some one other than me. I have no trouble with ‘my’ filing system finding a document that I need to refer to but I’m not certain it would be easy for anyone else and, if I’m really honest with myself, as I continue to find more documents through my ever deepening research, it’s becoming tough for me too!
3. I can, and this one is perhaps the most important, finish citing all of the sources for the facts in my genealogy database. These are the citations that I didn’t complete at the time of entering the database information but promised myself that I would get to someday. I think its time for someday to become today – before I’m too old to remember the source myself!
There are other things that I’m sure I could also do but I think if I make the list too long, I won’t get started. I need to begin and complete the most important tasks first before their is another generation added to the two already following me!