The Greatest Gift a Genealogist Can Give
There are multitudes of lists about the greatest gift for a genealogy researcher. But have you ever thought about what is the greatest gift a genealogist can give to others? Even for those who have no interest in genealogy?
My Gift to Daniel and Roo:
After spending several days in the ICU, my youngest son, Daniel passed after being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2016.
During the next couple of days, my other 2 children were coming to terms with what happened. In an effort to show how to smile through tears, I asked my oldest son what he thought Danny was doing at that moment. His response was that Danny and Grandpa (who passed in 2001) were building him (the oldest son) a racetrack, and the thoughts grew from there. (The family side is dirt track racing)
We gave him a celebration of life, placing pictures of him around the funeral home, for others to see, remembering him as the person he was. Generating memories, telling stories, smiling and laughing while shedding some tears.
We spread his cremated remains on some wooded mountain-side family ground, next to the pond. He loved the outdoors, hunting, and fishing to name a few of his favorite things. That weekend we also celebrated the person Danny was by doing the things he enjoyed. Fireworks, fishing, water balloon fights and 4-wheeling were a small part of the events. I wanted my grandchildren to know how to remember him without being sad.
Getting Back to Research
When I thought of working on the family tree, I would think about how I needed to add his death information, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe deep down inside I felt as if by doing this I was closing the door on him. After a couple of months, I decided to just do it. So I got out the laptop, scanned his death certificate, logged on to findagrave.com and completed his life.
In July of 2019, we lost another member of our family tree. My 4-year-old grandson “Rooster” (Robert Eugene Mitchell) or “Roo” for short, died from accidental drowning in the neighbors swimming pool. He was always asking when he could see his Uncle Danny again. Now they are together again. I am sure they are both as happy as can be, racing go-carts and playing jokes on the grandpa that Rooster never met in life.
Greatest Gift a Genealogist Can Give
The greatest gift a genealogist can give is the gift to be remembered. Pictures show only a moment in time. They get tattered and torn as time goes on. I want to know the stories others have of Danny and Rooster. It is the stories that last forever, sharing them with others who will pass them on to the next generation.
One of my readers asked if I had a difficult time getting back to research now as I did before. I now feel that by not moving forward, and not adding the information to the tree is to act like they never existed at all.
While researching your family tree, make sure to tell the stories of today. Pass them on to those yet to come. Allow others to know the people that gave them the DNA that makes them who they are and not just a list of names.
Let us not only remember the past and its required sacrifice, Let us also remember that we are responsible to build a legacy for the generations which follow us.Thomas S Mason