Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Family tree sharing
I've just got to tell you today about sharing your family tree.
Last week I visited the Genealogical Society of Victoria and attended a basic "How to Research Your Family Tree" type course. There I met a lady whose tale made me very sad, but made me realise how very lucky I am.
This lady told me how a cousin of hers had investigated their mutual family tree. The cousin interviewed all the members of the lady's family and her family availed themselves to the cousin completely. Photographs, documents, interviews, the lot.
Now the lady was finally in a position to start her own research, and contacted the cousin last week to let her know. The cousin told her "Go do it all yourself - I had to."
When I started getting seriously into my family tree I contacted some cousins too. Both had been researching for over 30 years. Both have invested a lot of time and money and personal effort in their research. And both have shared stuff with me without hesitation. I really feel so blessed in this.
Their experience and knowledge has often stopped me careering off down the wrong track through inexperience and over-enthusiasm. I have tried to help back with my imperfect knowledge of the internet.
We have had a couple of what we call family meetings now. But I must tell you, not a heap of family tree research gets done. We do share a lot of information and as we all agree, we all bring something different to the table. There is a stack of fun and laughter too, and relationships are building anew. This is the best thing of all.
I consider myself so lucky to be able to talk to my cousins who are really my mentors, and who are constantly encouraging me to keep going. I honestly don't think that I would have been so passionate about Genealogy if it hadn't been for them. They treat me as an equal even though I haven't a fraction of the knowledge they have. They listen to completely unsubstantiated and potentially crackpot theories of mine and don't dismiss them away but reason it out with me. They treat me with respect, so unlike the cousin of that poor woman.
So to you Sandra, and to you Bob and Helen too, thank you so, so much. I want you to know how much I am learning from you and how appreciative I am. And I promise you both that one day, if one of the next generation comes to ask me about our family tree, I will act with the same high degree of unselfishness and affection.
Love to you