For many years I’ve wanted to start building my family tree. For the month of April 2012, I decided to finally start doing it.
I’ll try to avoid going into excessive detail about my own tree here, but let me briefly explain the photo that you see above. My great great grandparents are the man and woman on the far left & far right (born in the mid-1800s). Their two youngest daughters (front row) died at age 17 (heart problems) & age 21 (tuberculosis). Their oldest daughter (2nd from right) died at age 33 during a cosmetic nose operation. Their remaining daughter (2nd from left, white blouse) lived to be 103 – she was my great grandmother.
A bunch of dates & ages, a bunch of health problems, a few stories… who cares? Why does it matter?
It might seem strange, but knowing the facts & stories about these people, seeing their personalities through their faces (or thinking I can), and imagining how we’d get along if we could meet each other helps me to understand a bit better who I am and how I fit into the world (although I don’t think it’s wise to define oneself by one’s relatives… did I just contradict myself?).
The people in that photo is just a tiny part of my tree of course. On another branch there are Holocaust survivors… and many who didn’t survive. And on another there are families in the 1700s who lived in England and were adventurous enough to sail across the ocean to spend the rest of their lives in North America.* I find it amazing to know that I came from these people.