You are part of the story
For many family historians, the excitement of the chase means that we are necessarily focused on the past. We try to locate everything we can on our ancestors, and sometimes, when we feel satisfied with what we have on them, we move on to the next ancestor. RootsTech 2020’s theme, The Story of You, reminds me that we can gain a whole lot more when we look a little deeper at our ancestors and at what they can teach us about ourselves.
Find yourself in the stories of your ancestors
As we discover who our ancestors are, as we add flesh to their bones by seeking out their stories, we add to the story of who we are. Do your ancestor’s stories echo any of your own? My own immigration story, moving from South Africa to the United States, echoes the journeys of my third great grandfather from Scotland to South Africa, and those of both my great grandfather’s, one from Ireland to South Africa and the other from County Durham, England to Kimberley, South Africa. In discovering their immigration stories, I see similarities in what I experienced. Did they feel the excitement as well as the anxiety of moving across the world to a different country? Did they feel the sadness at leaving behind family? I’m sure they did. In discovering their story and remembering how I felt, it helps me feel like I know them just a little better.
Telling the story of you
In order to tell our story, we need to listen to what the lives of our ancestors are telling us. Our ancestors experienced difficult times and hard trials, as well as happy moments and joyful experiences. What can those experiences tell us about them and about our own lives? Do we see ourselves in some of the characteristics of those who went before us? Can their perseverance in the midst of difficult circumstances help us when we’re faced with something similar?
I don’t think it matters how you decide to tell the story of you, just that you tell it. When we tell our story, it creates connection, and can be a powerful tool for healing, fostering a sense of belonging and helping us to know we are part of a bigger picture.
You matter. Your story matters.
Will you be joining me at RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2020? I’m looking forward to learning more about how to tell The Story of You from the over 300 classes available at RootsTech. Take a peek at this video from Jen Allen, RootsTech Event Director, on the ‘why’ behind the 2020 theme, The Story of You.
How will you tell The Story of YOU in 2020?