Friday, June 29, 2007


I haven’t had a chance yet to read the article in the Smithsonian
Magazine yet that’s been the cause of some excellent blog posts
from fellow genealogy bloggers. So I won’t comment directly
on it until I do. But I will voice my thoughts on the theory that
“Genealogy is Bunk”. It seems to me that implies that it's a waste
of valuable time and effort.

To me, it’s been the exact opposite.

I have a degree in history and I'm an avid reader, but I’ve learned
things I never knew about while tracing my family history:

- I learned about the families from Massachusetts that
settled in Nova Scotia after the British took control of Acadia
from the French while researching my Colburn/Colborn

- I learned that French-Canadians exiled from their homes
lived for a time in the home of an ancestor in Andover, Ma.
while researching my Abbott ancestors.

-I learned about the early Mormon church in Massachusetts
while researching an unknown cousin named Varanes Libby
on a website run by Connell O’Donovan about Elder Walker
Lewis, a black man ordained as a Mormon elder around 1843.
I also learned more about the early textile mill industry that
Varanes worked in at other websites.

-I learned about Canadian privateers and a distant relative
named Benjamin Ellenwood while researching my Ellingwood

- I learned about early Colonial American justice researching
the death of Ruth Perley Ames and the trial of Elizabeth and
Jonathan Ames for murder.

There are things I learned for those posts that I didn’t include
when I wrote them because of space and time. But I learned
something new in each of those instances and I’ve learned from
reading the blogs of my fellow genea-bloggers.

By tracing my genealogy, I’m learning about people and history.

Isn’t that what the Smithsonian Institute is all about?

1 comment:

Jasia said...

Bravo Bill! You make a very good point. The Smithsonian is about people and history, just like genealogy. Very well said.