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"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 storytellers 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.
... It goes beyond just documenting the facts. ...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.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to the one called in the next generation to answer the call and take his or her 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, restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before and to put flesh on the bones."
Della M. Cummings Wright wrote this short essay in 1943. In 1981 her granddaughter, Della JoAnn McGinnis Johnson, working with her grandmother, made changes and additions. Tom Dunn later reworded and edited it. Now, there are many versions. This is one.
I make memorials for family members, friends and people I don't know. If I have a memorial of someone you care about and you would like a transfer, let me know.