I started doing this for my family. But I quickly felt a need to help many other families across the country by connecting them to their loved ones. As you can see, I am not in this for the count. My count is told with the number of edit corrections completed. I am in this for the gratification of connecting family to their loved ones, remembering, and honoring them. Doing so also requires good research and updating of memorials. Connecting family members to their loved ones renews their memories!
I have so much respect for Find A Grave volunteers who are here to help each other. Like many contributors, I am concerned about the competition on FAG of who can own the most memorials to post the highest numbers. These memorials represent a family's loved one in life and death ... they were people ... not numbers to be owned ... not memorials to be added without their basic information.
WE ARE THE CHOSEN ONES
My feelings are that 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.
To me, 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 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 facts. It goes to who am I and why I do the things I do. It goes to 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 deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. (For we without them cannot be made perfect.)
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 their 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 put flesh on the bones.
By: Della M. Cummings Wright ~ Rewritten by her granddaughter, Della JoAnn McGinnis Johnson ~ Edited and reworded by: Tom Dunn
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
So many years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.
Original Author: Peter Burrows of Annapolis, MD