By Buddy Morrison
“What if I told you,” this phrase can evoke many thoughts depending on its use. In today’s genealogical world, it can provide an opening to pass along information about your family and how you became you. Genealogy sites have done several surveys, and the results found that Americans are not just out of touch with their distant families’ origins but also their immediate ones. A full 41 percent don’t know what country their grandparents were born in, and 24 percent cannot tell you what their grandparents did for a living.
I have been working for many years in compiling relatives to fit and fill in the many boxes that make up my family tree. These small boxes created by ancestry software provide me with my family tree with names and important dates. This box will provide dates that show the ancestor’s birth and death and how these boxes, when filled, give a link to bring the branches together. These boxes share no faces, historical information, or how history (Spiritual and Generational) helped shape their lives. All I knew of these people I had not met was when and where they were born and died. Before DNA testing helped paint a more interesting picture, the information I was able to find provided me with a bit of a story of the life they led before me.
I knew there had to be so much more and so many more relatives. I began to understand more about where my ancestors came from and try to understand their journeys. One part of my tree flowed into the new world on a ship called “Mayflower.” Further investigation found that they were not the puritans who dominated the ship manifest, but they were aboard to come here to help with settling a new untamed world for profit. They crossed at a time when the hardships for a new life measured life and death.
In my “outside the box Genealogy” concept, I work with my clients to help provide so much more than the confining box. There are so many more tools to help genealogists today that can help paint a picture and tell the story of who these relatives’ areas we take down the borders of the confining boxes. With the tools available like DNA, we can work together to find relatives that, before this tool, never knew were existing. Yet, they can be related just as close to us as our relatives that the boxes limited us on.
The boxes have brought these ancestors to life on paper in black and white. My goal is to convey not only these relatives but also some new relations into a technicolor world. In the months that follow, I hope to provide you with a clearer understanding as I can provide you with answers to the “what if I told you” Question.