Knowledge gained and knowledge lost

05 Jun

I worked on one of my family trees yesterday trying to figure out if I had the details for one generation right.  A generation I have no problem figuring out on my dad’s tree, but I’m stumped on whether I’m right on this tree, my tree, my family of birth.

What I’m missing is the knowledge you get, I got, from hearing family stories, family talking about who’s who in everyday conversations.  Priceless knowledge you gain over a lifetime of conversations that allows you to just know when you’ve got it right.  Knowledge I will never have for this tree.


Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Adoption


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8 responses to “Knowledge gained and knowledge lost

  1. maryleesdream

    June 6, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I miss having this so much. Am I like my grandmother? I’ll never know. I found my family, but they decided it’s best to have no contact at all with me, I’ll never make my grandmother’s Lima bean recipe. I don’t even know if she was called grandma, or Nana, or what.

    I wondered today, if someone asks my father if he has grandchildren, does he say yes, or no? My 4 kids are his only grandchildren. If asked how many children he has, what does he say?

    How can a family deny one of their own? Does anyone know what goes on in their heads?

    I’m pretty sure no one thought about all this when they put us up for adoption.


    • TAO

      June 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      No, they didn’t, we were blank slates.


  2. Gregory Luce

    June 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I went down the rabbit hole of family trees, creating two and becoming obsessed. One tree had a lot of information but little flesh. The other had less information but a lot of flesh, meaning the tree was more alive and full of stories because I had direct connections to the “everyday conversations” you mention. But on the one I became obsessed with—that one without a lot of flesh—it became almost an endless quest to find that life, some meaning, some secret code that would let me in. You click and click and click and add and add and you occasionally feel a connection to people and stories but you never shed the notion that it remains at least one reality away from your own. I love the tree, don’t get me wrong. But it at times still feels distant and disconnected for the reasons you mention.


    • TAO

      June 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      You nailed it…hard to put it into words. Thanks.


  3. L4R

    June 8, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    And, of course, you have the families who were raised by people who share their DNA who can’t understand why we even care about genealogy. They don’t.

    Often adoptees become the family genealogists. I suspect that it’s in part because we start with zero knowledge about the family. If my family of origin had started with no knowledge, they may have been interested in all the minutia.


    • TAO

      June 8, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      That’s a really good point L4R – and why it seems sometimes that what I think is amazing is boring to them. Funny though, losing the family Bible is why grandpa spent his last years trying to piece it together – different era though.


    • Gregory Luce

      June 8, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      My kids, also connected to me by my DNA, often roll their eyes when I regale them with stories and connections to their ancestors. The strange thing is, I always say “my ancestor,” completely forgetting that they also share that ancestor with me. I just got so used to being the only one that I still think I’m alone at the very end of the tree.


      • TAO

        June 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm

        The ‘my ancestor’ – I can see that happening. As to the stories, keep telling them, I’m sure I rolled my eyes at the stories, now they comfort me, guide me, keep me connected..



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