Monday, April 30, 2012

Chasing ghosts...

There are those who think that genealogy is a rather pointless pastime, and that instead of "chasing the past", one should devote energy to our present and future life.

But as a genealogist, I must of course defend genealogy as a concept and I know that for many people it is an important activity that serves many more functions than just to pass time.

As a professional genealogist I do genealogical research for others who do not have the time, desire, stamina or skills to do genealogy on their own, but still are interested in their origin and family history.

We Swedes are otherwise quite intent on that genealogy is a chore you "do yourself", like most Swedes also think about our gardens.

But we have previously done most things "ourselves" and today we do not think it´s weird to have the baker bake the bread for us, buy a ready-made dress, or hire a carpenter to build our new patio. We could of course do these things ourselves, but our priority is simply set to other things, or we don´t have the time, energy or knowledge.

Genealogical research is not even a bit exciting, interesting or fun for everyone, but surprisingly many people are nonetheless interested in knowing more about their ancestry, their roots and their origin.

I often come in contact with people that have "given up" their genealogical research when they realized that the time, stamina or the will to preserver was simply not enough. Just as I know there are lots of bread baking machines, sewing machines, and expensive carpentry equipment and tools collecting dust, hidden away in our homes. They reminds us of broken illusions and cracked ambitions, but we, again, did not have the time, energy or knowledge to pursue them.

The interest in our long-dead relatives are sometimes regarded as bordering on the morbid, and certainly we must not forget to put the most energy on our close- and loved ones who are still alive. But our ancestors - all of them equally important, also deserves to be remembered and live on in our minds and memories.
Without them we would not exist and there are many thousands of years of "work" behind each one of us living today.

So it´s not about "chasing ghosts", but rather to honor life.
And I truly believe that you can do that with genealogy, whether you do it yourself, or hire someone to help.