I am NOT a genealogist.
Genealogy is for old people (my grandparents) and although my children consider me old (Dash asked me just yesterday if I would still be alive when he has children.... eek) I am still quite young. I have never felt a push to do genealogy in a traditional sense. I still don't... I think.
So how did RootsTech change me?
1. I learned I am doing genealogy. As I tell our family stories I am my part in preserving the records and filling in holes not only for our ancestors, but my descendants. I am linking the generations.
"Memories, the heart turning, the emotional side will engage many, many more people than the clerical side. We could continue on with family history and be very healthy if we stayed in the very valid, academic: names, dates, and places preservation, clerical side. It would continue to be a fabulous industry. But as we look to engage those that don't have that propensity and start using it with the stories and the emotions that connection can bring to them and then teach them to do the very valid and necessary clerical, but attract and engage them first with the emotional. That is one key way that we are going to grow." (Steve Rockwood, CEO FamilySearch, meeting from 11.23.2015)
2. By learning about my past, I find I am making more conscious choices about the future. I find myself thinking more about what I want to leave future generations and what is important for them to know.
3. Interestingly, I want to live more simply the more I learn about my ancestors. I want less stuff and more meaningful relationships. After the last conversation with one of my children about the latest gadget they had to have I am planning on a few more "getting to know" your ancestors conversations and see if the same holds true for them.
4. I am more passionate about telling our stories, although from the lack of posting here you might wonder. eeek.
I have been able to go out and teach, hopefully inspiring someone to start documenting what they know, not only about their own lives, but the memories or stories of their ancestors. I also can't help, but share the things I learn with my children. I want them to have the same connections and love for the sacrifices made for each of us.
5. I learned in a most amazing class taught by familysearch.org (I wish I could remember the teacher's name) that the simple information you find death certificates, ships manifests, etc coupled with a little geographic and historic research can create a wonderfully detailed picture of who a person was and how they lived.
6. I learned that our lives are not very different today than our ancestors. We often face similar challenges and circumstances. I was surprised by this. For example, I was looking at one of our lines and noticed that one ancestor was adopted and I immediately wanted to know more. As I looked at the relationships and dates I learned that the adopted daughter was adopted by her grandparents. Her birth mother was her oldest sister. As this realization sank in, it made me realize that social issues that we often think are unique to our lives are as old as time. We can learn from and gain strength from the lives and experiences by those who came before me.
"Children who know their family history, who have shared in these stories, develop a send of self embedded in a larger familiar and intergenerational context, and this sense of self provokes strength and security." (From The Intergenerational Self: Subjective Perspective and Family History, )
I am so thankful to be involved with an organization, in just a small way but the benefits will effect generations to come. I can't wait to learn more this next year. If you would like to join me you can register for RootsTech here. I will be giving away a free pass for RootsTech in a couple of weeks so watch for more details.