That said, I should disclose that more often than not—I live in the past; I’m comfortable there and I feel appreciated. In my most reverential thoughts I believe my angel ancestors value my efforts to record their lives in such a way that they will be memorialized by all generations that follow. My efforts along with several others in our family have taken us back in time along a path strewn with obstacles that sometimes seemed impossible to get around, over or beyond but after almost 40 diligent years, we reached back in time about 350 years in some of our lineage. Genealogy is an addictive hobby/avocation (call it what you will) that I may have put aside for multiple reasons over time but the song of seduction ultimately calls me back and like an old friend, my collective ancestors, from all branches of the family tree welcome me with open arms. They always knew I would return and they are in no hurry—they have lots of time. Did you know that genealogy ranks right up there with golf as the nation’s top recreational activity? This notoriety has opened doors previously blocked by bureaucracy for years. The things we have learned, the stories, (written and oral); the photos, (some identified and others that will remain unnamed to infinity) that we have unearthed inside dusty boxes and long forgotten trunks resulted in these individuals coming to life again after years of obscurity. When my time on earth comes to an end I am confident there will be someone to pick up the reins and keep our family’s genealogy research wagon on the road to the past.
To date, that person has not come forward but I am optimistic. In the future, when they make themselves known—the research will be at the ready because this Christmas, I accepted an offer from my generous and loving niece, Julie (also my namesake) to store my primary hardcopies in a safe place until one of two things happen. Either we will settle down, stop traveling full time and I will then have a place to store them myself or my life will end unexpectedly and/or prematurely and in that instance, she will assume responsibility for these records. This has taken a weight off my shoulders because living in an RV (with weight and storage limitations) has put our prized information at risk while being in public storage or riding around the country in the back of our pickup. Before the winter of 2008-09 has passed, my goal is to complete my ongoing project of digitizing all of my information and backing it up on DVDs/CDs as well as on an external hard drive. Even so, for future genealogists, the originals are precious and irreplaceable. I have been taunted and accused of being obsessed by some who do not understand the importance of what I consider my life’s work but fortunately, in most cases, I have only to consider the source in order to ignore the comments. Never fear, my efforts will continue as long as I am capable.
Phil and I are humbled by the good fortune we have had since choosing this amazing lifestyle for our retirement years. Good health and clear minds prevail after more than four years and we look forward to many more on the road as we continue to explore our beautiful and diverse country and visit significant places and family members that will contribute to our family history.
Whatever their personal choices for the future, we wish the same for our loved ones and dear friends in 2009. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Until next time ...