If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them, or don't you really know?
Some strange discoveries are made in climbing family trees
And some of them, you know, do not particularly please.
If you could see your ancestors all standing in a row,
There might be some of them, perhaps, you wouldn't care to know.
But there's another question which requires a point of view.
If you could meet your ancestors, would they be proud of you?
-- Leila Pearce, age 11
~WE ARE THE CHOSEN~
feelings are in each family we are called to find the ancestors. To put
flesh on their bones and make
them live again, To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. To me, doing
genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, Breathing life into all who have gone before.
are the story tellers of the tribe. We have been called as it were by our
genes. Those who have gone
before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many
graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count.
How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us?
many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love
there for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do?
goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference
and saying I can't let
this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.
goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors
were able to accomplish.
How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never
giving in or giving up.
resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep
pride that they fought to make and
keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us
we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With
love and caring and scribing each
fact of their existence, Because we are them and they are us. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.
It is up to that one called in the next generation, To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do my family genealogy, And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.
(Dedicated to those who have gone before us)
tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone
reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own
Ancestor...the place you filled
One hundred years ago
out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
wonder if you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.
~Searching for an Ancestor~
I went searching for an ancestor; I cannot find him still.
He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.
He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.
He avoided any man who came to take the U.S. Census.
He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame,
And every 20 years or so, this rascal changed his name.
His parents came from Europe; they should be upon some list
Of passengers to U.S.A., but somehow they got missed.
And no one else in this world is searching for this man;
So I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.
I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed;
But weather took the engraving, and some vandals took the rest.
He died before the county clerks decided to keep records.
No Family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts.
To top it off this ancestor, who caused me many groans,
Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named Jones.
~The Census Taker~
was the first day of census, and all through the land
The pollster was ready, a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride,
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
long winding ride down a road barely there,
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.
gave him some water as they sat at a table
And she answered his questions...the best she was able.
He asked of her children; Yes, she had quite a few,
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
held up a toddler with cheeks round and red,
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
noted the sex, the color, the age.
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
places of birth she'll "never forgot",
Was it Kansas? Or Utah? Or Oregon, or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear,
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
spoke of employment, of schooling and such,
They could read some and write some, though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done,
So he mounted his horse and rode toward the sun.
can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years."
picture a time warp, it's now you and me,
As we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.
they only imagine on that long ago day
That the entries they made would affect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real?
can hear, if we listen, the words they impart
Through their blood in our veins and their voices in our heart.
~Today I Visited
by Pat Conner Rice
I visited yesterday,
and walked among the graves
of family and friends from long, long ago.
Whose memory had begun to fade.
graves were unattended,
as were my thoughts of them.
a vision of the ages past,
brought back my sense of kin.
vision showed the church lawn,
on a crisp summer day.
table spread, the food prepared,
and friends who would break bread.
my relatives were there
both young and old........
and I walked hand and hand,
sharing stories never told.
laughed and cried and shared our
And I found the friend I thought I'd lost.
the sun began to fade.....
the church bell rang out clear.
Grandma and the others slowly disappeared.....
I visited yesterday,
and now the memory is strong
of the family from which I came
AND NOW BELONG...
The Family Tree~
been a change in Grandma, we've noticed as of late
She's always reading history, or jotting down some date.
She's tracing back the family, we all have pedigrees.
Grandma's got a hobby, she's climbing Family Trees...
Grandpa does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
He even has to wash the cups and the dinner plates.
Well, Grandma can't be bothered, she's busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the Family Tree.
has no time to baby sit, the curtains are a fright.
No buttons left on Grandpa's shirt, the flower bed's a sight.
She's given up her club work, the serials on TV,
The only thing she does nowadays is climb the Family Tree.
mail is all for Grandma, it comes from near and far.
Last week she got the proof she needs to join the DAR.
A monumental project - to that we all agree,
A worthwhile avocation - to climb the Family Tree.
were pioneers and patriots mixed with our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Grandma, whose eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the Family Tree.
some it's just a hobby, to Grandma it's much more.
She learns the joys and heartaches of those who went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept - and now for you and me,
They live again, in spirit, around the Family Tree.
last she's nearly finished, and we are each exposed.
Life will be the same again, this we all suppose.
Grandma will cook and sew, serve crullers with our tea.
We'll have her back, just as before that wretched Family Tree...
~Cooking? Cleaning? I'd Rather do Genealogy!~
think that I should cook and clean, and be a model wife.
I tell them it's more interesting to study Grandpa's life.
They simply do not understand why I hate to go to bed . . .
I'd rather do two hundred years of research work instead.
waste the time we have on earth just snoring and asleep?
When we can learn of ancestors that sailed upon the deep?
We have priests, Rabbis, lawmen, soldiers, more than just a few.
And yes, there's many scoundrels, and a bootlegger or two.
can a person find this life an awful drudge or bore?
When we can live the lives of all those folks who came before?
A hundred years from now of course, no one will ever know
Whether I did laundry, but they'll see our Tree and glow . . .
'Cause their dear old granny left for them, for all posterity,
not clean hankies and the like, but a finished family tree.
home may be untidy, 'cause I've better things to do . . .
checking all the records to provide us with a clue.
Old great granny's pulling roots and branches out with glee,
Her clothes ain't hanging out to dry, she's hung up on The Tree.
by: Mel Oshins
SPEAKING OF OUR ANCESTRY,
MY MOTHER'S EYES WOULD SHINE,
AND PROUDLY SHE WOULD TELL US ALL,
YOU'RE OF THE TUDOR LINE.
FATHER WITH A SMILE WOULD SAY,
"WHILE BEARING THAT IN MIND,
YOU KEEP YOUR EYES ON GOALS AHEAD;
NOT THOSE THAT LIE BEHIND."
HAVE A NOBLE ANCESTRY,
BUT ALL ARE DEAD AND GONE,
'TIS YOU WHO HAVE TO PROVE YOUR WORTH,
NOT THOSE WHO'VE JOURNEYED ON,
BACK ALONG THAT TUDOR LINE,
'TIS SORRY TRUTH I STATE,
THERE MAY BE SOME YOU CAN'T APPROVE,
AND EVEN SOME YOU'D HATE.
WAY TO PROVE YOUR ANCESTRY,
IS WHAT YOU ARE YOURSELF;
NOT BY THE CHARTED FAMILY TREE,
IN BOOK UPON THE SHELF.
TRY TO BE AN ANCESTOR,
WITHIN THE TIME ALLOWED,
OF WHOM YOUR CHILDREN'S CHILDREN,
IN THE FUTURE CAN BE PROUD.
~PORTRAIT ON A WALL~
when I have become a quiet portrait on the wall,
Will you, my fair descendant, stop to think of me at all?
your hands are shaped like mine and you have my keen sense of fun.
Will there be one to tell you so...then...when my days are done?
you love books and fires and songs, and silver moons in velvet skies,
Toss me a look of shared delight from those, my own dark eyes.
there are kinships in a curl and namesakes in a spoken name;
The wine of life may yet be poured by faded hands within a frame.
~Ode to my Ancestors~
my elusive kinsman
You've led me quite a chase
I thought I'd found your courthouse
But the Yankees burned the place.
always kept your bags packed
Although you had no fame,
and Just for the fun of it
Twice you changed your name.
never owed any man, or
At least I found no bills
In spite of eleven offspring
You never left a will.
say our name's from Europe
Came state side on a ship
Either they lost the passenger list
Or granddad gave them the slip.
the only one looking
Another searcher I can't find
I pray (maybe that's his fathers name)
As I go out of my mind.
said you had a headstone
In a shady plot
I've been there twenty times, and
Can't even find the lot.
never wrote a letter
Your Bible we can't find
It's probably in some attic
Out of sight and out of mind.
first married a .....Smith
And just to set the tone
The other four were Sarahs
And everyone a Jones.
cost me two fortunes
One of which I did not have
My wife, my house and Fido
God, how I miss that yellow lab.
somewhere you slipped up,
Ole Boy, Somewhere you left a track
And if I don't find you this year
Well...... Next year I'll be back!
~The Story Tellers~
We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that
somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead,
breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one.
We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family you would be proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving
up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.
It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.
~Strangers In The Box~
look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
IF only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.
~Ancestors of Yesterday~
of so long ago,
I'll search until I find.
Till I can prove and clearly show,
that you are truly mine.
follow behind your trail of tears,
the hidden footprints of time.
Covered and buried throughout the years,
and continue each mountain to climb.
search every faraway seaside shore,
and every valley below.
I'll unlock each and every door,
as my own teardrops flow.
unearth the buried History of you,
and your own Ancestral kin,
I'll search for that all important clue,
and open my heart to let you in.
~Written by Sandy Lamere Solari-1998~
in the attic
Down on my knees
Lifetimes of boxes
Timeless to me
Yellowed with years
Some bringing laughter
Some bringing tears
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me
All that I come from
all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom
~ Author: Amy Grant ~
~The Old Family Album~
old family album, the pages are worn,
From turning and browsing they are tattered and torn,
mem' ries are sweet ones, we like to repeat ones,
We live them again in the old family album.
picture the family, we're all having fun,
We're in this together--parents, daughters, and sons.
pictures are share times, those family affair times,
We live them again in the old family album.
camera is snapping while gifts we're unwrapping.
lens is recording our group as we're boarding.
is clicking while baby is kicking,
all to record in the old family album.
stand all together, remember to smile.
We'll all be recorded in family group style.
camera is ready, now everyone steady,
And we'll be a page in the old family album.
~WHO AM I~
started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To see if I could find the makings of me.
And all that I had was Great Grandfather's name,
Not knowing his wife or from whence he came.
chased him across a long line of states,
And came up with pages and pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
Poor old Great-Grandpa had never been born.
day I was sure the truth I had found,
Determined to turn this whole thing around.
I looked up the record of one Uncle John,
But then found the old man to be younger than his son.
when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear Old Great-Grandfather was never a Dad.
seems that someone is pulling my leg,
I'm not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree,
I can't help but wonder if I'm really me.
~The Family Quilt~
family quilt was started
generations in the past.
Designed with love, its pattern's rich
in values that will last.
person sews another square
of memories that endure,
While challenges add strength
that makes our family life secure.
stitching it together~
threads of closeness,
warmth, and caring
Make it cozy and more comforting
with every year of sharing.
Page Created May 26, 2004