The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Genealogical Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been reading Megan Smolenyak’s book, "In Search of Our Ancestors," which is “101 inspiring stories of serendipity and connection in rediscovering our family history.” Apparently, these stories were collected during the filming of the PBS series Ancestors.

One of the stories that made my cry was about a World War II pilot who died when his fighter plane crashed in a field in Great Britain. In the early 1990s, when the field was being bulldozed to develop a subdivision, someone convinced the developer to name the subdivision after the pilot and then tracked down the pilot’s family to let them know about it.

I also love the stories about people who find heirlooms like family bibles and track down the descendants to return it.

That these stories exist (and I suspect there are many, many more than what’s been published in this book) has convinced me that genealogists – both amateur and professional – understand the cyclic nature of life at a very basic level. Excuse the psycho-babble here, but I think people who perform random acts of kindness in the name of genealogy truly understand why we’ve been put on this earth.

And if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, then you better hurry up and perform a random act of genealogical kindness for someone else – pronto!

~Mary Kaye

P.S. What are you waiting for? Go be nice to someone you’ve never met!