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? Including for those who have no interest in genealogy?
After spending several days in the ICU, my youngest son, Daniel passed after being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2016.
Over the next couple of days, my other 2 children were coming to terms with what had happened. In an effort to teach them how to smile through the 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 a racetrack, and the thoughts grew from there. (The family business on my paternal side is dirt track racing)
We opted for a celebration of life, placing pictures of him around the funeral home, for guests to view & remember him as the person he was. Generating memories, telling stories, smiling and laughing while shedding some tears.
His remains were cremated and spread on some wooded mountain-side family ground. 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, cookouts, water balloon fights and 4-wheeling were a small part of the events. I wanted my grandchildren to know that it was ok 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 certificate & burial 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 end.
This past month we lost another member of our family tree. My 4-year-old grandson “Rooster” (Robert Eugene Mitchell) died from an accidental drowning in the neighbors swimming pool. He always asked when he would see his favorite Uncle Danny again. Now they are together again, and 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
Pictures show only a moment in time. They get tattered and torn as time goes on. I wanted to know all the stories people had of Danny and Rooster. It is the stories that will last forever, sharing them with others who will pass them on to the next generation. The greatest gift a genealogist can give is the gift to be remembered.
When researching your family tree, make sure to tell the stories of today. Passing them on to those yet to come. Allowing 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