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Genealogy and Family History

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  • Susan Rektorik Henley
    Dear List Friends, long-term and new, Yes, this message is longer than just a list of names...please take the time to read it anyway...thank you! It is
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2000
       Dear List Friends, long-term and new,
      Yes, this message is longer than just a list of names...please take the time to read it anyway...thank you!
      It is heartening to see the new names and to see people acquiring names and links for which they have been looking.  At the same time,  it is with more than a little sadness that I see all the emphasis being placed on hunting for names only.  Believe me, I understand the necessity (especially when you don't have immediate family who carries the memories, of finding first names and places and relationships).  It is by doing this that we begin to establish to ourselves who our ancestors were.  Many people are content when the names, dates, and places are filled in on their tree or their computer program and a lovely report is generated.  There is nothing wrong with this, I love well-organized flow charts myself.  I also understand that for many individuals, the hunt for the relatives of other people's relatives is rewarding and can be avocational or even vocational.  For many who do not have the time, resources, or inclination to conduct genealogical hunts on their own, these folks are invaluable and their service deeply appreciated.
      At the same time, where are you if you only have names, dates, and places on a tree or a database?  Do you really know who your great-grandparents were?  Are you any closer to understanding why they left family and friends in their village of origin?  Do you know what was important to them?  Do you know how they lived their lives?  These are some of the human factors I urge you to find and then hold onto in your search of your family.  The paper documents you find which pertain to your ancestors may list the names of other people (witnesses) and/or places.  Remembering that connections are important may help you discover (as I did) that your great-grandmother had a married who immigrated at the same time as she did and they settled together and shared their lives in the new county.  Look for clues as to the religion of your ancestors...not only because it may lead you to more documents but because knowing their religion and learning about it and what was happening in that religion at the time of your ancestors can again enlighten you as to what their lives were like.
      At times, I despair for it seems that we, Texas Czechs, are losing our connection to the real people who were our ancestors...who were our families...who were the Texas Czechs.  Each of you has the ability to gather information which helps you reconstruct the humanity of your ancestors as you build your family tree.  Also, please take the time to share with us on the list as well as your family what you find about the lives of your ancestors.  It is their personalities and their culture which actually flows through our veins.
      And yes, this is a site for exchanging genealogical information but as Frank Mikula once explained to me (during a discussion about this site):  "My vision always was that this be a site not only pointing to things and sites Czech, but also a medium of communication exchange and storage...storage of genealogical data AND the stories and history and photos behind the data."
      So I implore you all to be a little different, use this list to post what you learn about the individual persons who were your ancestors, share photos (if you are lucky enough to find them), and most importantly...LEARN AND KEEP THE STORIES OF YOUR FAMILY.  THIS IS YOUR CULTURAL HERITAGE...NOT JUST YOUR BIOLOGICAL ONE!
      Crusadingly Yours,
      Susan Rektorik Henley

      Kdo chce s vlky býti, musí s vlky výti! 

      "If you run with the wolves, you must howl with the wolves!"

      Remember who your people are, keep and tell their stories.


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