The primary families that I focus on are Pickens (MS,TN,OK), Hilliker/Hillaker (Canada/Michigan), Taylor (Rockcastle,KY), Whaley (Canada/MI), Wheaton (MI), Fox (OH,KY), the Lamirands (Wanette,OK) and all those who have married into these families in my research. Other family lines followed include the Murphys(Liverpool), Maske(Germany/Poland), Spielman(Germany/Poland/Wis), and the many families affiliated with his extensive research.
"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice."
"As we think well of ourselves, let us remember that we are standing on the shoulders of the generations before, for if they had not come, we would not be here."
We are the Chosen
In each family there is one that 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 have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family: you would be 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 fact. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and 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 keep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and 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 could 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 I the long lone 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 whom we had never known before.
"Our Ancestors of Albert County"
New Brunswick, Canada
Host: Sheila Geldert Hannah
What calls us to find the ancestors? It goes beyond a simple curiosity. We are taken over, compelled, as if possessed by something bigger than us that is begging to be revealed. There is one of us in most every family, called to be the scribe. I am but one of the many in the long line of storytellers of our clan. Like others I am called to gather and assemble the ancestors—to breathe life back into them as far back as we can reach. We take what we find and chronicle the facts of their existence, remembering their names and who they were and what they did. They are the sum of who we are, for without them, we would not exist. We greet those who came before us, restoring their place in the familial line. We scribe their stories and their histories. We search for them in public libraries, county records, and weed-filled or well-kept cemeteries. We comb through yellowed newspapers, family archives, and lovely old letters and photo albums. We find them! And in finding them—we find ourselves.
Catherine (Clemens) Sevenau, Sep 2009
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