Family History Research
If you haven't bowed your head, heavy with tears, while doing Family History Research, perhaps you haven't been doing it right. You're not just researching statistics. You're looking into the lives of the people who went into making you what you are today. All your characteristics have been shaped by their strengths and weaknesses - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
If you attach yourself to their dates and places and make yourself aware of those times, you'll soon understand how they felt, because they have passed those feelings on to you. If you're in tune, how you feel is how they felt. For example; a couple will never be a set of statistics, when you discover they lost eight of eleven children and buried their fathers on the same day, having just suffered through a famine. Or, after living through all the campaigns of the Revolutionary War, a young women loses her husband to a filthy virus in a prisoner of war camp, leaving her alone with their only son. And then, to hear the bones of your husband may have been exhumed (his grave raided!) only six months after he was buried and perhaps sold to a medical college, by a handful of local doctors; how pathetic; how excruciating!
The sacrifices your ancestors made for you will become more than obvious, the more you study them. Your ancestors weren't quitters. They were strong, resilient, enduring people. They carried on, in spite of incredible hardships. They fought wars and famines and disease. Constantly struggling, they rarely had the peace you now have.
The stories are phenomenal. What inspired them? Well... The same things that inspire you. What motivated their migrations? The answer is the same. The same things that motivate you.
No one should research a family without knowing what was historically happening at the time. How else will you fully experience the emotions of doing this work?
I have come to know my ancestors quite intimately. For this I am grateful. I am thankful a record of their lives have been left behind, so they wouldn't be left behind. It's like finding hidden treasures.
Let me share some poignant scriptures that have impacted my view of Family History:
- Matthew 6: 20 & 21 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- Malachi 4:5 & 6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
I believe the Spirit of Elijah is deeply embedded in my desire to search out my Family History. I believe I am storing up a treasure that can't be rusted, corrupted or stolen. I believe I'm a better person for having followed the promptings I get, because they are blessings from my ancestors. And, when the day comes where I get to see them in the hereafter, they won't be strangers to me.