After you have started investigating into your family history, you could develop a kindred feeling or spiritual bond with a certain ancestor. You may have known them when you were younger or they could have lived years before your birth. It is this unusual connection and longing to learn as much as possible about a particular relative that almost becomes an obsession. However, this is a good obsession.
As information is gained about this ancestor, like certain characteristics or talents, you may see aspects of your own personality. If you learn the relative was a singer, an extrovert, a writer or an artist; and these are some of your talents, the attachment is established.
Then there might be similar physical appearances; such as red hair, tall in statue or curly hair. Special skills or behaviors might be learned about an ancestor. Their spelling ability, carpentry skills, love of fishing, gardening aptitude, may well be shared interests of you, the researcher.
The ancestor you develop a special kinship might a direct relative (grandmother, great grandfather, etc) or a collateral relative (uncle, cousin, etc). Learning this could be the greatest incentive to investigate that ancestor even broader than others because you realize how much you are like them in numerous ways.
A distinctive favorite ancestor can also stem from the cloud of mystery surrounding that relative. With little or no information about the person, your curiosity is peaked and you are driven to learn as much as possible about the ancestor. This shadowy character can become so fascinating to the researcher. Once you set your sights on such an objective, details can start to surface and trying to solve this mysterious ancestor offers fantastic gratification.
A few of one’s ancestors may have led adventurous lives, taking risks to blaze into the unknown. Pioneers of any era are always fascinating. Whether they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to settle in colonial Massachusetts, ventured to Spanish Florida, immigrated to Brazil, set up residence in colonial South Africa or made a new home in Quebec Canada; each had a captivating life to be learned. The ancestors that looked for new lands, survived out in the middle of nowhere may cause one to even envy them for taking risks. We ask ourselves, how did they do it?
Then a beloved ancestor may have been part of an illustrious historic event such as the opening of the Panama Canal, the California gold rush of 1849, served as an aide to Queen Victoria of England, during the Salem witch trials, built the Empire State Building or served on the balloon barrage over London during World War Two. Knowing that ancestor had some personal connection provides the researcher with the same association. Investigating further about that beloved relative strengthens our knowledge of history which was being made while our ancestor was there and experienced it firsthand.
Any unusual event in an ancestor’s life can also be intriguing. A cousin who ran away to join the circus is certainly one you would want to learn more about. A grandfather who served for decades as the only medical doctor for a rural community can be captivating information. The saying; “Who knew?” applies as a researcher investigates such an ancestor.
Sources to aid in uncovering the exciting aspects of some ancestors include hometown newspapers, history museums, historical societies, military personnel records and even family legends. Some of those myths handed down over the generations have a hint of truth behind them.
These beloved ancestors make genealogy wonderfully fun and enrich family history research. Remember, “They are waiting to be discovered.”