Saturday, April 14, 2012

Genealogy--it's Everywhere! Books, film...

Genealogy allows us a window through which to observe our culture, our history, our family, our traits. It isn't just a science of who begat whom, although I am convinced that it is the best logic puzzle ever discovered. We see politics, traditions, social structures, and much more through the simple framework of the genealogy search. Our ancestors were usually not just our ancestors, but also the ancestors of many others. We can find distant cousins, or choose not to do so, but at the very least we can place our ancestors in the fabric of the life that went  before.

 For those of us with colonial ancestors, we know that many of these ancestors had many descendants, and that many have been well-documented. One of my first delights in this realization occurred as I read a book left lying around the house-- The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Newberry Award winner Elizabeth George Speare. The plot carried me far into the book before I encountered one of my ancestors, Captain Samuel Talcott, and before long, I found more. And the narrative was gripping!  It was about the witch trials, and of course, none of those on trial were actual witches. It spurred me on to look at the family connections more closely.

Many of the colonial settlers and their families appear in film, in books, fiction and non-fiction, and in biographies. Sometimes the interpretation of their life is accurate, and sometimes far-fetched. But it shows us that we love to record and play with history and that  those American ancestors live on in the text or on the screen.

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