Monday, October 30, 2006

Genealogy

Last week my daughter sent me a photo of five miners. Supposedly, it was taken in 1884 and includes my grandfather. He died in 1920 or 21 so I never knew him. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing a photo of him as a child and had forgotten his first name. Surely, I heard it as a child. I did know my grandfather and grandmother where first cousins.

Here’s part of a second email from my daughter.

"Ok you know how Isaac Lambert married Cosby Anna Bailey and then Joseph Cook married his first cousin Rachel.

Well it happens again from what I can tell; years before this.
If all this info is true....Phillip Lambert goes back to the 1700s . . .(scandalous/boring details removed). Would this not be his first cousin also but more incest-like than the Bailey/Lambert. This is a Lambert/Lambert marriage.

Took me a while to let all this sink in. Just thought you would like to know."

Why would I want to know that? Honestly, I don’t care. I live today and I don’t care what my ancestors did.

But – there’s always a but – I’m glad my daughter is interested in genealogy and sends me emails about her adventures in hunting for long deceased relatives. Enthusiasm and interest are contagious. It makes me feel good to watch her and listen to the excitement in her voice and emails.

I tried to teach my children two things. I tried to teach by word and example to be honest, independent, hard working, unafraid and compassionate. The second thing I tried to teach them is to live their lives with autonomy. I consciously avoided pressuring them into a career of my choice or a college of my choice or feeling like they had a responsibility to me. Their lives belong to them and they get to explore their interests, make their decisions, enjoy their victories and suffer their pain.

“Just thought you would like to know.” Yes, Angel, I do want to know – not about my ancestors but about you. I want to know that you’re engaged with life, that you have your interests and not mine, that you’re independent and choosing your path in life. Dig into the details about our ancestors and tell me about them. I’ll not remember the details but I’ll remember the enthusiastic tone in your voice and the excited look on your face. I’ll listen but not intently. My mind may wander to memories of you as a little girl but that’s OK. They are good memories and I enjoy them.

3 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

Allowing your children to become, as opposed to being a reflection of you, that is a good thing.

10/30/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

As I had parents whose involvment pretty much ended when I left the birth canal, I have no idea what they would have wanted of me or for me, so all I have is the path I traveled myself. As for cousins, well, I was tempted once in that direction, and I doubt it would have had much impact on the world if such a union had occured. Great post, I do so much enjoy your work!

10/30/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger whitesnake said...

Out of the mouths of babes..........

You fancy a beer when ya get here?

10/30/2006 10:22:00 PM  

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