We Are The Chosen
My feelings are in each family there is one who
seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh
on their bones and make them live again, to tell
the family story and to feel that somehow they
know and approve.
To me doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of
facts but, instead, breathing life into all who
have gone before. We are the story tellers of the
tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called
as it were by our genes. Those who have gone
before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How
many graves have I stood before now and cried? I
have lost count. How many times have I told the
ancestors you have a wonderful family you would be
proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a
grave and felt somehow there was love there for
me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to
who am I and why do I do the things I do?
It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost
forever to weeds and indifference and saying I
can't let this happen. The bones here are bones
of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to
doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able
to accomplish. How they contributed to what we
It goes to respecting their hardships and losses,
their never giving in or giving up, their
resoluteness to go on and build a life for their
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and
keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense
understanding that they were doing it for us.
That we might be born who we are. That we might
remember them. So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of
their existence, because we are them and they are
So, as a scribe called I tell the story of my
family. It is up to that one called in the next
generation to answer the call and take their place
in the long line of family storytellers.
That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is
what calls those young and old to step up and put
flesh on the bones.
"there should be, in every life, a place ...where
you could come and visit your past, and the past of
your people, and know whatever happened outside,
here timelessness lives."
From: Tom Dunn [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2001 7:52 PM
Subject: [VERMONT-L] The Story Tellers...