I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reviewing my family tree. The reasons for this are two-fold: one is mom is getting old; she won’t be around too much longer. Dad left this planet November 11, 2011. I had asked him before he died to write out his life story. He never did. Always planned to, wanted to, and he was a good writer. But he just couldn’t do it.
Now, suddenly I’ve realized that if I don’t get mom’s story down on paper, I may never have any of that knowledge. So I’ve started asking questions, a lot of questions. Fortunately, even though mom goes in and out of reality, and some of her memories get mixed up, she still has a pretty good grasp of the past, especially her own. Asking the right questions has given me a lot of good answers to my childhood angst that led to teenaged rebellion which led to very confused young adult years. More about that another time.
There are other people getting old too that hold many stories about the past, aunts, uncles, cousins. Many of the aunts and uncles are gone now, but some still remain, albeit in poor health. A few cousins are just a stone’s throw from the end themselves, but they’ve grown up with stories…stories that I want to hear because they might hold some kind of clues to the past.
The other reason that I’ve been spending so much time on this topic is because I want to take my son to the old country: find out where the family lived, listen to the war stories and political histories as told by the tour guides. We’ll poke around old cemeteries, stick our heads in old 17th century buildings, and perhaps peruse through old birth and death registers. All to find names. Who lived, who died. How many were murdered in the name of political ideals. Put places to faces, and homes to names.
The more I research into the past, the more interesting it becomes.
But I can’t help wondering, is it important? Why? Why are we so fascinated by our histories? I guess partly because histories make great stories. Whether the stories are true or not, a story set against a historical timeline makes a story that much more believable. It’s interesting that in the case of famous people, their genealogy is always researched by experts and suddenly we find out that so and so is the 23rd cousin of the royal crown. Not that any of us really care, but it makes for an interesting story.
The Bible is filled with genealogies. Obviously God and people back then thought it was important enough to be documented. I’m sure when Moses was writing the first books, he probably found it interesting to be able to trace his history all the way back to Adam. What he didn’t know was that information would become a key link to future generations as well. The book of Matthew documents the genealogy of Jesus Christ all the way back to Abraham. This genealogy was important to prove to future generations not only that Jesus’ existed, but also that he was Jewish, and that he was the Messiah. Genealogy and Old Testament prophecies worked together to prove the divinity of Christ.
Interestingly though, after Jesus death and resurrection, there don’t seem to be any other pertinent genealogies that the New Testament writers felt needed to be included. No one seemed to have a need to write down that they were a distant cousin of Jesus. Even his siblings didn’t seem to make a big deal about being physically related to him. Huh! Maybe they were just too busy spreading the gospel and fleeing from persecution. Or perhaps it was because the spiritual family now superseded the physical family. As Christians, we are now all brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to each other. In the faith of Christianity, genealogy isn’t important.
However, in the secular and physical world, it still makes for a good story. So, I’ll keep researching and probing. Maybe I’ll fall into a good mystery.