Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Me?

Why Me? by midgefrazel
Why Me?, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.
Statue at North Cemetery, Wayland, MA

I like the plaintive look of the woman in this statue. It seems to say "Why me?" I think it is a good thing that no one can hear what I am thinking while I am out taking photos in the cemetery because I realize that I am composing blog posts as I snap certain photos. Of course, she is asking this question because of the finality of death. I just think of this as a block.

Apparently, a mental block is not the same as writer's block. I have a serious mental block. As soon as I get to the "edge of America" and identify the person who was the immigrant of my family, I stop, just as if I am going to fall into the ocean. Until now, I thought of this as a problem with my own identity. I just didn't want to think about my ancestors coming to America. But, since I have been working on my husband's line, I have the same feeling. I am the first to admit that this is weird.

My husband and I are ancestral mirror images. My paternal ancestors came here from Scotland and his maternal ancestors came here from Scotland. My maternal ancestors came here, mostly from England (one was French) on the Mayflower and in the years afterwards and now I am finding that his paternal ancestors are probably mostly of English birth. So far, we have no common ancestors but I do think that is possible.

A discussion has occurred as to how many of us genealogists and family historians are "cousins", finding a common ancestor in our charts. I was already a Facebook member when Thomas MacEntee found me, hiding with the educators. I looked at his blog and said, "I am also a descendant of Robert Austin." Several others have come forward since listing surnames and asking me if they are in my chart. It really is cool.

The problem with this is that I am not fully researched back that far. I worked on my Connecticut ancestors first. They are the furthest away. I have taken hundreds of gravestone photos there.Then, I joined the Rhode Island Genealogical Society and started working on my Rhode Island ancestors. There are not as many gravestones to take in Rhode Island.

I have been successful with these families but I don't seem to be nearing the "edge". My Massachusetts ancestors elude me. Some of these are in New York. I just know it.

Most of the sources for my ancestors have listed the wrong town or city that my immigrant ancestors have come from. I have been shrugging my shoulders and writing just the country name. I just think of them running away from whatever country to be Americans and so they are no different than the ones that are two generations back (instead of ten, twelve or thirteen). I do think that many other fellow ancestral hunters may know more about mine. Should I be paying attention to this?

Well, it is all about the connection. The movement to the Internet for discussion and sharing is astonishing. As a believer in technology, I probably have a stronger sense of this than some of the other genealogists. I expect it to be great.

People seem to know me since I write a lot. So this begs the plaintive whine, "Why me?" Can you help me with my mental block?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though it sounds like you have plenty to address on this side of the pond, it is curious that you just stop there. What is it about exploring the other side that stops you? Maybe it's because you can't see the stones. A nice self-reflective post.