January 4, 2023
“We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted. Each of us contains within us this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.” ― Edward Sellner
Hello, and welcome to 2023 from the Midwest Genealogy Center! I feel like a bit of a time traveler, given that I’m writing this in the present, which is technically the reader’s past. I have never been big on setting resolutions for the New Year. Instead, my present self wants to remind my future self to take more chances and opportunities that show themselves to me.
When it comes to genealogy, I hope to attend more classes and events, whether they be in-person or online. Having now served as both genealogy teacher and student, I have found that there is always something to learn from each side. Curious about what events MGC has planned? You can look on our homepage or visit the MGC events webpage.
I’ve also found that in our pursuit of the identity and history of our ancestors, we tend to look at records as though we are viewing them through a microscope. This year, let’s widen our “lens” and see what may be hiding along the outskirts in records and stories. Take a closer look at the background in pictures. Pay attention to what isn’t being said on documents. This may look like noticing who is not listed in a will, or which heir received the most or the least. Maybe you have looked at a picture a hundred times, but this time you notice artwork in the background.
The art may be a painting, graffiti on an underpass, or pottery. Look into who created the work. You may find out it was your ancestor themselves, which in turn can explain where your knack for art comes from. In pictures, pay attention to the style of clothing the subject is wearing; if the picture taken was indoors or outdoors; and modes of transportation used.
Storytelling also seems to be an inherited trait. For example, perhaps your family was known for their oral histories. MGC can help you continue those traditions with our Tell Me a Story initiative. Maybe your ancestors shared stories through the patterns they wove or designs they sewed. Your propensity for needlework or desire to create could be a shared characteristic in your family tree.
I would encourage you, as well as my future self, to take a step back and look with a wider lens as we continue our research. We never know what we might be missing just outside of our frame of reference.
Midwest Genealogy Center
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