Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In the details

 In working on the family tree I am sometimes surprised. The surprise comes not from discoveries, but from what I didn't realize. What I mean is, I knew some of those folks, quite well, but wasn't aware of the relationships. I think a lot of children are like that. We know that person is our cousin but we sometimes do not understand why. This becomes especially true when the cousins or whatever are more distant. I was looking at a picture of my Aunt Minnie. That is how I knew her but in reality she was a great aunt. Sister to my grandfather. That never dawned on me until I started this genealogy stuff. Well, Grandfather Reichart was long since passed when I was child and seldom spoken of. Aunt Minnie was around and my Dad would go to visit with her. She didn't seem to be much older than him. Of course when you're a kid all adults are pretty old. And there was Aunt Lina. She had been married to Grandfather Reichart after his first wife, Grandmother Clara died. There are others I could mention but the point is, I wasn't paying attention. I'm certain Mom and Dad told me all this stuff at one time or another. It was, after all, common knowledge to them. Now, a couple generations down the road that knowledge is becoming uncommon. So uncommon as to become a hobby. Isn't that a bit ironic ? My hobby is my ancestors memories.
 Having been raised in a small close knit town there were many relationships. My Mom was one of ten children. Her Dad was one of six. How many direct relatives I had living, in town, when I was growing up had to be a large number. One Uncle of mine had ten kids of his own. I have yet to get an accurate count of the number of first cousins I have. It can get very confusing, very fast. I don't think this is unusual though. There were many I never met. You have to factor in personal relationships that your parents had or maintained. It is those folks that we interact with as children. The two Aunts, sisters to my Mom, that she visited most often did not have children. The others I know little about. They certainly had kids though, I discovered that in my searches. Why didn't I know ? Seems strange to me now but never gave it a thought growing up. That is the personal relationship factor.
 I have often thought there is so much more I could have known if I had only asked. Those folks were a wealth of family information. I wasn't interested then and not paying attention. I wonder though how much would have been shared. Would you tell those " family secrets " to your brother or sisters children ? The secrets I'm thinking about are not necessarily bad things, just explanations. Things like, why don't you hang out together ? Meaning your parents and their siblings. Maybe some relatives of yours are a bit, shall we say eccentric. Could you be objective in telling those things ? I know that I was subject to gossip and innuendo concerning some of my relatives, being told to avoid them. Mom and Dad didn't approve of them. Was it truth or just a perception ?
 The more genealogy I do the more I want to know the story. That is the interesting part, trying to figure out the story. Some of it will never be told and lost to time. I guess in some ways that may be a good thing. Mom always says, never speak ill of the dead. Is telling the truth speaking ill ? I would have to say no, although it can be hurtful to others. I can understand the logic behind it. No sense upsetting anyone for things we can't change. All those folks are not just names, they were real live folks. The how and why of things is what interests me most. Unfortunately a great deal will be left to speculation. I hesitate to form a story based on speculation. Finding facts to support the story is always a challenge. Facts are facts, but the interpretation of those facts is always subjective. Much depends upon time, place and circumstance. We are quick to record our accomplishments and just as quick to bury our mistakes. First thing is, figure out the relationships of the players. Only then can you begin to understand the game. I have found it adds depth. Those " old folks " had feelings just like you. Their past influenced their future. That hasn't changed just because their future is our past. Our challenge is to see the whole picture. It's a big canvas. It's all in the details.