Genealogy Matters

Genealogy Matters

Here's some reading material for your coffee break: A post today on the Scientific American blog called I’m a Johnson from Wisconsin, and It is Pretty Cool. Neuroscientist-turned-journalist and genealogy buff Madeleine Johnson wrote about how she used a circular family tree chart of her own creation as...

Here’s some reading material for your coffee break: A post today on the Scientific American blog called I’m a Johnson from Wisconsin, and It is Pretty Cool.

Neuroscientist-turned-journalist and genealogy buff Madeleine Johnson wrote about how she used a circular family tree chart of her own creation as a starting point to her roots research, and is searching for the story of a great-grandmother who died in an institution.

“Genealogy, distant and recent, gives meaning to personal and shared historical experience,” she writes.

Also check out another post and article she mentions: Going Dutch: I’m one of the Van Dusens of New Amsterdam. So what? in which Matthew Van Dusen says his illustrious ancestry—described in a New York Times article about New Amsterdam’s early settlers—doesn’t increase his own personal importance.

I have to agree with him there, but I do think it’s neat to be related to someone you might read about in a history book (I’m not, that I know of). Of course, it’s also gratifying to discover and honor the stories of “ordinary” folks in your tree. What do you think?

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  1. Good reads! While I agree that our ancestors activities or lives do not define us,it is an awful lot of fun to be able to research using encyclopedias or history books (in-laws, not mine). Ultimately, though it’s more fun to really dig for information.

  2. Since, when it comes down to it, we are ALL related to someone royal or of historical note, that is not why finding ancestors is so rewarding for me. When ever I find more than just a date of an event regarding and ancestor–a story or reference that gives that name on my chart a hint of personality–it simply brings these real people closer to me.

    I think it is a great equalizer to see what things happened to my ancestors and compare them to my life.