Genealogy is about connecting. I personally have a pretty low need to affiliate. Don’t quite understand the tears and hugs after a week long event (training, conference, mission trip, vacation). But genealogy is my passion (some say obsession). And it’s all about connecting. A bit of a dichotomy.
I was once speaking with a second cousin. Suddenly a lightbulb went on when she said, “I’ve been feeling very Fowler this week.” Fowler is the line we connect through. I totally understood what she meant. I was a Carrick that week, having done a great deal of research on my Carrick line and was overwhelmed reading about the death of William and his only son, Andrew (18), in a mine as the shaft they were riding on at the end of their shift broke it’s cable causing them to plummet 184 feet to their doom.
When I was in Scotland, I spent several days immersed in the Haddow line – my paternal grandmother’s family. So much so, that I definitely felt the affinity. I have been researching the Haddows for years. I have connected with several distant cousins who all connect to a single line but then branch off from a different offspring. I became known as the “go to” person for anyone setting out on or who was “stuck” in their Haddow research.
But when I was in Scotland recently, my focus was on a more recent generation. My grandmother and her siblings. I was able to access information that was far more recent than what is available online. I now know their stories, their successes, their challenges, their tragedies. I was able to drive out to the small little village where they lived. I managed to get photos of their headstones. When I returned home, I sat and wrote out the story of this particular generation of Haddows, to share with my cousins. It was such a labour of love being able to share what I had learned. Our granny Haddow died when we were all quite young. Four of us then emigrated to different countries, so lost the connection to the story after Granny passed away. Our fathers weren’t much for sharing family stories about their parents or grandparents, so we were all in a bit of a vacuum. Now, however, we are all feeling a lot more Haddow.
How strongly do YOU feel the affiliation when you research? Do you feel particularly connected to one particular branch? Is it fleeting or lasting? How has it impacted your understanding of who you are?
Scottish born, Canadian raised, Christine had the best of both worlds, growing up immersed in Scottish culture. Realizing that others of the Scots diaspora were not as fortunate, she started her business, Genealogy Tours of Scotland to allow others researching their Scottish roots the opportunity to return to the land of their ancestors, conduct family history research and deepen their sense of belonging to their ancestral kin.