Saturday, October 01, 2011


The topic for this next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is what type of
real tree best represents my family history. I had a hard time thinking of what
tree might fill the bill, because while I like take pictures of trees, I'll be danged
if I culd tell you what type of tree I'm pointing my camera at.
But another thing I like to do is write, and as a writer I know that words and
phrases often can mean more than one thing.

So what type of tree represents my family history? I could have picked a
tall pine tree, because of the generations of New Englanders that stretch back
to the Mayflower on my Dad's side. But that's only half the story, because I'm
Irish and German 19th century immigrants on my Mom's side and I don't know
much about those families once I get past my Mom's grandparents. If I take that
lack of knowledge into consideration, then I have a different picture of a tree
in my mind. Have you ever driven down the street and seen where the telephone
company has  trimmed the tree branches back from the line? The side of the tree
away from the line is full and untouched while the side closest to the street has
large gaps cut away from it?  That might be a good representation of my family

There's another type of tree that came to mind but this one reminds me more
of the process of researching the family tree rather than the tree itself:

Somewhere behind all that is a tree. I was lucky; my Aunt Dorothy had already
 found a lot of the tree before I started working on it. The trick is doing it
carefully, knowing which  leaf is actually part of the tree and which belongs to
the other plants. It has to be done with care, you can't just chop and rip away.
It's a work in progress and eventually, if I do it right, I'll end up with a tree that
looks like this:


Sharon said...

I really enjoyed your blog post.

Bill West said...

Thanks Sharon!

Carol said...

Nice take on the meme there Bill. Enjoyed it!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

I really like your comparison to the tree that has been partially chopped away by the utility company, leaving gaps. Good post!

Jasia said...

I have to hand it to you Bill, you are quite a creative thinker. The idea of the tree cut around utility lines is original! Great read!

Thanks for sharing in the COG. :-)

Bill West said...

Thanks, everyone!

Joan said...

Bill, a great post. I particularly liked the last paragraph. It's those pesky leaves that dinna belong to the tree that get to me!

Julie Goucher said...

A wonderfully creative post.

FranE said...

Enjoyed the post. Interesting thoughts

Alice Keesey Mecoy said...

Great post. Loved the visual of uncovering the tree one leaf at a time. Good luck with your research