17 July 2011

(Almost) Silent Sunday

SUMMER ..! .. We’re in the midst of it! Isn’t it glorious? Didn’t we wait all year for this? YES!

Photograph May 2011 by BDM
Summer has a way of interfering with good intentions about blogging. Mine, anyway. All that daylight. All that warm air on exposed skin. So many surprising free pleasures in a great city—movies under the stars, live music beside the lake, rooftop barbecues, countless neighbourhood festivals, sidewalk cafes as the sun goes down. Urban citizen that I am, my undying gratitude goes to no mosquitos

Summer seems like “return to your roots” time. Family historians! Mount your expeditions! You know ... drag the family to an isolated cemetery 800 miles away that takes you two days to locate in an overgrown woodsy tangle of poison ivy. The gravestone(s) you seek is illegible or missing and the mosquitos (insert blackflies, ticks, snakes, or local pest) are killing everyone as the sunscreen drips off your forehead. Of course the kids are whining and husband’s face acquires thunder clouds. Nevertheless, a worthy effort. One must do what one must do.

My first experience with the time-honoured genealogical road trip was discovering that the cemetery in question had three different names. I have a large correspondence file with municipal officials to prove my confusion. No, wait. That file got chucked in the last downsizing. Eventually we learn that not only cemeteries, but also the names of ancestral villages/towns/counties/countries underwent metamorphoses.

Last summer I did a deep roots thing, over the seas. Now that is what genealogists dream of. To the places of the ancestors you never knew. You spent years trying to figure it all out, who they were, where they were, what it was like for them, how you relate to—or feel—their heritage.

Photograph September 2011 by BDM
Photograph July 2011 by Will Dougall

This summer is more about living branches. The world’s mightiest lake exerts a magnetic pull north and west to the sleeping giant. Everyone born there feels it.

With all the recent nasty surprises of climate change, let’s ENJOY while we have the good stuff. What are YOU doing to celebrate summer?


CallieK said...

I leave for England a week from today for 3 and half weeks of treading where my ancestors once stood! Mainly focused on the Kilner line in Huddersfield but with a brief foray up to Scotland to meet Anderson kin and check out where my mom's side is from.

BDM said...

Enjoy every minute of it! I hope it's very rewarding in a family way.

Ruth Blair said...

Congratulations on your article "Dirkje Vanalstine, Dorothy Porter, Dorcas Carroll: One and the Same Woman?" in the National Genealogical Society June Quarterly. I enjoyed reading it.