Through my years of researching, genealogy has given me self-confidence to handle dysfunctional situations inside and outside my home. Knowing where I came from and what happened in the past, helps me to understand how to overcome the various obstacles in life.
The enjoyable feeling of belonging to different heritages is also rewarding. Feeling connections with friends and neighbors that descend from ancestors from the same area helps me feel accepted and included. To carry on the family traditions of making kolatchky during the holidays and sharing it with family and friends, to ringing the homestead farm bell every New Year’s Eve at midnight, to putting an old beer can next to the traditional angel on top of the Christmas tree, are some examples of tradition in my immediate family.
My father’s ancestors came from Europe and my mother’s ancestors came from the early days of the Colonies in America. On my mother’s side, Grandma Hazel’s down to earth Southern Indiana sensibilities has shaped my personality and instilled in me my Hoosier Pride. On my father’s side, my Grandma Marion’s strong Bohemian work ethic and obtaining the American Dream is what keeps me on track as I strive to progress at work and in life.
Honoring and using the wisdom that each family member and ancestor bestowed on me and being able to pass it along to my family and friends gives me a sense of belonging and camaraderie. This also opens dialogs of just what is genealogy, along with requests from others asking me to help research their family. The best part of genealogy that I enjoy is passing my knowledge of researching genealogy on to others. I hope that “paying it forward” may help others to find their past, while considering their future.