Season of Sharing
The holiday season is upon us. That means a number of things to different people, but it almost always involves renewing relationships with one’s family. Sharing the merriment used to be limited by geography, but technology has progressed to the point where families can be together even when they’re on different continents. Not only can we share messages and photos, but we can talk face-to-face with services like Skype and Facetime. As genealogy enthusiasts, these innovations are a great way to gather information. Better yet, there is no better time of year to invite your whole family to your tree.
You never know when one piece of information unlocks a whole new branch to your tree. Asking Aunt Susan about Grandpa Mendel just might expose a new element of your heritage that you never would have guessed existed. This interaction isn’t just for your benefit, though. I’ve seen first hand how genealogy can bring whole families closer. When you share your passion with a loved one, you’re sharing part of yourself. Believe it or not, I’ve seen relationships mended thanks to a shared enthusiasm for genealogy. You might call it a fringe benefit of working on your family tree.
When you’re up late comparing marriage records, it might not seem like your hobby is a particularly social one, but keep in mind that the overarching goal of genealogy is to find and preserve our family connections. The strongest theme in my ideas and beliefs about genealogy is that the human element must be highlighted. All of the technology we use is merely a means to an end. That goal, I propose, is best summed up as knowledge. Knowing where your family is from, what they did, and how they lived is what genealogy is all about. Really, what good is that knowledge if it isn’t shared with every interested party? In the end, genealogy is an incredibly social hobby. I think Geni’s success showcases that nicely.
My hope for all of you is that you can share your passion with your loved ones over the holidays.