Tuesday, August 1, 2017

About Genealogy and Broken Trees

Back from the inaugural International German Genealogy conference in Minneapolis, USA.  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. Truth be told, I thought of genealogists as rather narrow-minded individuals, focused on dates and lists. I was expecting to be bored. (Did I just say that out loud?) Well, this conference convinced me that genealogy is much more than lists…and that being narrow-minded, is sometimes a good thing. It’s about being focused, about being able to extrapolate from that endless data, from those lists, and discover family. 

There were more than seventy different presentations over a full three-day schedule. ‘Classes’ started at eight in the morning. Yes, I took notes, and have a syllabus to fall back on. It was intensive and will take me weeks to process. 

Because I’m fluent in German, I especially appreciated conversing with some of the German guests. As a first generation Canadian, I’m still strongly influenced by my German roots, but because my mom was born in Ukraine, I spent years confused about her identity. It wasn’t until I met Don Miller  that my mother’s childhood (and her jumbled memory), was given context and I was able to write my books. My family tree was once quite broken. At some point, I have to start exploring my father's North Sea roots. 

So much history, so little time. 

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