“All fruit on the family tree is profitable, either to pick and enjoy or compost” by J.D. Duke
Duke humorously illustrates a good point about genealogy. Back during my school days I found history very boring and virtually painful. The teachers could not make it interesting enough for me. I knew of Washington and Lincoln because they were on our money and I was constantly reminded of them. But all the others were faceless personalities who meant nothing in my world. Years later I found out different in a most different way of teaching. I found that researching my family tree enhanced my interest, study, and understanding of history.
Doing family research helped me learn how to research history and other areas of interest. My interest was stimulated when a lady writing a book on our family paid a visit to my Mother. My Mother, Father and oldest brother quickly became interested in our family’s history. And they in turn passed the interest of genealogy to me. Learning to research census records was first and easy to do at our local library. Later I learned the different websites on the internet to help with my research. Also visiting grave yards became a regular family outing. The information gained was valuable. I then felt that anyone could learn to do a family tree and most of all the skill of researching could be learned and used in many aspects of life including research at work, school, and blogging.
Understanding where my family fits into the timeline of history gave me a new outlook on history. A good example is that I learned in my research of an ancestor with five sons who served in the Civil War. I discovered history that the books did not teach. I learned that Port Hudson was the last fort to fall on the Mississippi, not Vicksburg. My ancestors were there with one being killed during the longest siege of the Civil War. Now the soldiers of the Civil War had faces that looked a lot like mine. Also, I learned that before the American Revolution there was a group called the “Regulators” in North Carolina that revolted against the local British government. They lost the fight, but it set the stage for the real battle of Independence. The colonial soldiers now had a face, and they looked like my ancestors because they were there at the river where it all happened. These facts would have been of great interest to me in my school years, and I might not have sleep in my history class.
Research of my family tree helped me to explain history to those younger, like my children. To invoke the imagination of my children towards history I can now use all the information that was gleaned through the years in my family. For example, one member of my family was a scout for the Southern army. One day he was captured and suspected of being a spy by the Confederate army and was going to be shot. The officer in command interviewed Him and invited him to supper. After finding him innocent of being a spy, the officer let him go. Later after the war was over the ancestor saw the officer in Jacksonville Florida and made him a pair of boots. The officer later wrote the man a thank-you note of which I have seen a copy of. The note was signed by Robert E. Lee, which thrilled me since Gen. Lee was well remembered for being a letter writer. This is one of the pieces of family history I love sharing with my children so that when issues of history are taught, they will have a face to put to the fact.
History was once hard for me to study. But when I personalized history by the facts in my family tree, it became the fruit of life. I can see the effects of our family history in the big picture of our country and world. I have mentioned some positive facts of my family history, but there were negatives (known as skeletons) found also. In the harvest of the fruit of the family tree we can collect one basket of good and one of bad. But we must remember that all of it is the product of the tree and to be learned from.
Notes: This was an essay I did in my ENG101 class at Wallace. 9/8/2011
I corrected most of the mistakes except I had a problem with Par Trans.
I got a 95 with the remark: “Excellent Essay” written on it by the teacher.
Hoped you enjoyed it