I ‘do’ family trees for a hobby. I maintain a subscription to ancestry so that I can spend time researching all of my family trees. So far I have 3 family trees and each one is dear to me for the reasons that follow.
Dad’s tree is one of the most interesting as I grew up listening to the stories he told. He was a great story-teller and told of his ancestors migration, occupations and exploits. Those stories were never boring. Researching dads family tree shows me how the values his ancestors shaped their choices in moving to this new world. How their hard work and respect for the land, the people around them and the environment further shaped their values. Their migration across america shows a study in working hard to provide a better future and that settling and giving up was not an option. Dads ancestors showed that they lived their lives without fear, shame, or deceit, and maintained a willingness to work hard each and every day, be thankful for what they had and to always help others, and finally above all to take care of family. Dad was the man he was because his ancestors shaped the morals, ethics and values that were passed down generation upon generation. To me Dad will always be the best of the best and I must honour his ancestors for starting on the path that led to who he was. I hope I live up to those standards.
Moms family tree is less familiar to me without the stories. That makes me sad but her strength and courage to continue on regardless of what happens tells me her family also placed the same importance dads did. For that I honour her family.
My maternal family tree has allowed me to understand who my ancestors were but without stories I must learn what their world looked like then, to understand what they learned and did. It has been a revelation to me and a long journey. At the end I know more about who I was supposed to be and blending that with who I am because I am adoptee is amazing. I honour my ancestors for the path they travelled, the losses they suffered, the strengths they garnered and simply because they are my ancestors.
My paternal family tree is bare but not by my choice. It is what it is. Perhaps when the 1940 census is released in 2012 I will start to work on finding the other half of my story through the lives of my ancestors.