The Chosen

We are the chosen.  In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.  To put flesh on their bones and make them live again.  To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.  Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.  We are the story tellers of the tribe.  All tribes have one.  We have been called, as it were, by our genes.  Those who have gone before cry out to us:  Tell our story.  So, we do.  In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.  How many graves have I stood before now and cried?  I have lost count.  How many times how I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would have been proud of us.".  How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?  I cannot say.  It goes beyond just documenting facts.  It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do.  It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and the indifference and saying- I can't let this happen.  The bones here are the bones of my bone and the flesh of my flesh.  It goes to doing something about it.  It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.  How they contributed to what we are today.  It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.  It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to keep us a nation.  It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.  It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we would not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach.  That we might remember them.  So we do.  With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are.  So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.  It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.  That is why i do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those who we had never know before.

Delia M. Cummings Wright, 1943

Post 69 of the Grand Army of the Republic in Beverly Massachusetts.  This Historic Building is still in use as a VFW and American Legion Post.  The day this Picture was taken, Census workers were training for the 2010 Census.  (Photo Courtesy of Kelly Underwood-Dzemske) 

Kelly Underwood-Dzemske taking a break  in Wadsworth Library during Reclaiming Our Hertiage to talk to President Lincoln.  (Photo Courtesy of Kelly Underwood-Dzemske) 

Mary Ann McGann participates in the Evergreen Cemetery Walk held in Manitowoc on Memorial Day.  She spoke of her Great Grandfather Nicholas Schaus who served in the 17th Wisconsin. (Photo Courtesy of Mary Lou Salomon)

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