Linda has been tracing her (and therefore my husband's and children's) family tree. Some go back as far as the 17th century, to Switzerland, to Germany, to exotic places like Iowa and South Dakota. I was amazed at how much work she had done. Three big binders full of information, families, photographs, newspaper clippings, letters.
As I read through the pages, several things struck me.
- This took a tremendous amount of detailed, tedious work. I'm in awe.
- That we have an easier life now. So many women died in childbirth, so many children died in infancy, so many people died young.
- That we all have a proscribed number of days on this earth, and there is nothing we can do to lengthen those days. There were hundreds of names in the database, and the vast majority had passed away decades ago.
- That there is comfort in knowing where you came from. Roots ground you, to places, to people, to your history.
- That looking through a family history like this gives my life perspective. There is a measure of healing that has come as a result of this project. As our family continues to grieve the passing of my mother-in-law, things like this family tree project give us perspective and continuity.
Have you done any family tree assembly? Did you learn anything surprising?