Updated: Oct 20, 2018
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” ― Fred Rogers
I’ve done genealogy for a long time, and I love the research involved and the puzzles to solve. Digging up documents has helped me learn about different places and different times. Whether set in Italy or Ireland or Scotland or Bohemia or Germany or across the U.S. and Canada — my ancestors’ stories are many times inspiring, sometimes crushing, and almost always fascinating.
One thing that has struck me over the years is that my family tree is so much more than the documents that recount a birthplace and date, or a marriage document, or a death certificate. I’ve come to see that my family’s story would not be possible to tell without the generous ones who may or may not be related by DNA, but who have helped create and shape our family.
And so I am developing a series of blog posts about the generous ones.
In thinking about writing about our family’s generous ones, I want to tell their stories and celebrate their lives. I also want to share with you how I discovered their stories. Through this you may get some ideas that will help you collect, compose, and compile the stories of your generous ones.
The world today feels heavy to me - with crises and conflict and struggles and mean-spiritedness. Remembering the generous ones may help counter this. It goes to the quote attributed to Mr. Rogers posted above: “You will always find people who are helping.”
Through these posts I also want to think about why people are generous. What can I imagine or infer about the generous ones in my family? And what do my assumptions tell me about how I see generosity?
As you can see, this addresses big questions about me and my world - even as I share stories about my own family history. I hope you enjoy the journey.
My next post will introduce you to an abandoned baby, left on a doorstep of a farmer in 1844, on a chilly March night in the hills of Abruzzo which is now Italy. That baby is my great great grandfather.
If you want to follow this series of posts, please sign up on our website: Familynarrativeproject.com
We will let you know when there are new blog posts!