As I read Su’s latest post on Shaking the Tree,(which I have re-blogged onto my blog here),  I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend just the other evening.  We are both working on our family trees. 

While I made the decision to go back as far as I could on my parents’ lines ensuring I have documents to confirm their place on my  tree, my friend is leaning more towards discovering each person’s story on the way back.  I had decided to leave my ancestors’ stories until I have completed each branch of the family but it is not an easy thing to do.  For example, I am an avid viewer of “Who do you think you are?” and in recent episodes, there has been discussion about weavers in the UK around the mid nineteenth century and how the downfall of the industry led to many of those working class people ending up in the workhouses.  I have some ancestors who were weavers around that time and I am anxious to find out that they did not end up in the poorhouse.  So I am tempted to start that search… but then I would be starting with stories in the nineteenth century and I am sure it would be better to work from the oldest to the newest member of the famiy or conversely.

I often stop and think – is there a right way or a wrong way to research your family history?  Su is right:  we are advised to start with our family members but if you don’t have them available, then you have to move to Plan B.  Unfortunately I want to do Plan B, C and D all at the one time and I worry that I will run out of time before I have the complete picture, the complete family story.

I have decided I have to be patient.  As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I will plod on checking birth, marriage and death certificates to ensure I have the right ancestors in the right place and then I will start filling out the tree with their stories. 

I don’t know about other trying-to-be-genealogists, but, in my mind, I see a whole line of people who are not just names and dates and they seem to be pleading with me to tell their stories.

I want to get to them and I will. Their stories have to be told. I just hope I don’t let them down.

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