What is Genealogy Related? - Deborah Aldridge
Subject: What is Genealogy Related?
From: Deborah Aldridge
Date: September 22, 1999

Hi Everyone,

First, let me thank you for all your support over my run in with a member
over a posting.

I can relate to "cainestown" (didn't get a name) who posted VISITOR FROM THE
PAST.  I forwarded it to my list and got a not-so-kind comment.  I guess we
can all be sensitive when our personal views are attacked.

This is the message I sent to my list re: the posting.  Hope you enjoy it,
and if you don't, please don't write to me!  I don't care!  You know what
they say about opinions. . .???  No, seriously, please respond to my
personal mailbox, if you feel you must.

I know politics is a touchy subject, but I feel that the writings of this
age or any age are valid genealogical material.  Would someone related to
Abraham Lincoln say his Gettysburg Address was not of genealogical value?

Are George Washington's letters not of genealogical value?  What about the
Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution?  Are we not all proud to
be part of the families who wrote and signed those documents?  Would anyone
be ashamed to say they were related to any of our founding fathers who spoke
out against what they considered tyranny?  Or to any of our artists, poets,
writers who enriched the lives of their times?

I truly feel that one hundred years from now, someone may come across
writings from this era and be thrilled to know what life was like in our day
and time.  It tells them something more about us, and how we felt and lived.
I think all of us have pored over journals, diaries, and letters of our
ancestors.  Surely, ours will be as valuable to our children's children's
children one day, or to our cousins's children's children.

I know, having blood ties, and corresponding as much as we do with our
common quest, we have all wondered what one another was like, what we wear,
what we eat, what kind of music we listen to, do we like poetry, or
classical music, or maybe we're country music fans and like road rallies! Do
we hunt, or fish, or play tennis?  Are we members of country clubs, or just
getting by?  Sometimes we let things slip that give us clues, and the
internet does give you some anonymity, which is nice sometimes.  But one
day, when the first of us passes on, wouldn't you like to read things they
wrote, just to get a better feel for them?

If names and dates on tombstones were really enough, why do we spend so much
time looking up land transactions and baptismal records?  Why do we care
what church they attended, or if they owned a business, or what plantation
house they owned?  Why do we care what crops they grew, or what regiment
they served in and for that matter, whether they served at all.  Does it
matter if they were gentlemen or farmers or poor white trash?  Is it even
worth mentioning that you have a Native American ancestor?

OF COURSE IT IS!  OF COURSE IT MATTERS!  These were people, with hearts and
souls and minds just like ours.  We wouldn't be human if we didn't want to
see what they wrote, what they felt strongly about, what they wanted and
needed and loved.  Just like one day my ggrandchildren will look over all
these notes and letters from the web and see what we were like.  That even
though we had never met, we cared for and prayed for each other in times of
trouble, and shared our joy over times of happiness.  We will be real to
them.  They will only know us by what we write, paper traces of what we are.
So be very careful of what you leave behind, less they think you are NOT an
ancestor they can brag on, but one of the "black sheep" they keep in the

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