Friday, January 06, 2012


I've been reading science fiction and fantasy since I was eight years old. There's
a term used in that community called "Sense of Wonder". Loosely, it means that
ability a book or film has to draw you into its world, that sense of awe when you
read an engrossing book or see a great movie. I got that the first ime I read Tolkien,
Burroughs, Dunsany and others, and the first time that Imperial cruiser flew onto
the screen seemingly right over my head in the opening scene of the first Star
Wars film.

Now one of the things I found when I started really getting into genealogy is that
there is for me a similar "Sense of Wonder" for genealogy. In this case it doesn't
involve fantasy but rather family history. I get a real kick out of not just discovering
names and dates but also in putting the pieces together to try to solve the puzzles
of the lives attached to them. I was fascinated with  the story of John Wesley
Ellingwood and his children, and even more so that it put me in touch with another
Ellingwood cousin, Bonnie Grant. I've just added another whole group of Ellingwood
cousins to my family tree. I'm looking forward to seeing what the documents I've
found for  them might tell me of their lives. This is just for one line. Imagine what I
will find on the others!

There's been a lot of discussion lately about where the geneablogging community
is now and where it is heading and it's been interesting reading. I haven't thrown my
two cents in because frankly I don't have it. The people in the discussion have more
knowledge of the field and better writing skills than I'll ever have.

What I will say is this:

I know other genealogists have that same sense of genealogical wonder that I have.
I know this by all the posts on blogs or Facebook or Twitter where people excitedly
share their new discoveries or talk about being contacted by cousins who found
them through their blogs.

Should we be concerned about what the role of the geneablogging community has
become and where it will go in the future? Yes, we should.

Does every blogpost need to be meticulously sourced and cited? That's up to the
author of each blog.

But as we consider these issues, let's try to be constructive and not divisive.

Let's not do or say anything that will sour either our own or another's enjoyment
of genealogy.

As Randy Seaver says, Genealogy is FUN for so many of us.

Let's try to keep that sense of genealogy wonder going for us all.


Donna - What's Past is Prologue said...

Amen, brother!

Dorene from Ohio said...

I hear you:)

Craig Manson said...


As they used to say, "Right on!" (and please, write on!)

Joan said...

You took the words right out my mouth. Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking.

Linda Gartz said...

In my case, more "archaeology" than genealogy -- because so much was left to me in the form of letters, diaries, photos, scraps of notes--each adds to the whole. I'll find a photo with a date; then a letter that references the photo -- 100 years ago. I'm so excited to put the two together: this photo was sent with this letter -- separate entities until I made the connection. It's truly wondrous.

BDM said...

That pretty well sums it up for me too, Bill. Even though I'm not going to write a blog post about it (I toyed with the idea) my time has been eaten up trying to read all the posts and comments. If I'd two cents it would be worth about a lost $2K by now, LOL. We're all going the same way of wonder, just taking slightly different routes.
- Brenda