Thanks also to many members of these genealogical discussion forums, for their contributions:
And to members of the forum at ScotlandsPeople, which has (unfortunately) now been closed.
THE STORY TELLERS
We are the chosen. My feelings are that in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that they somehow know and approve.
To me, genealogy is not just a cold gathering of facts but instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of our tribe. All tribes have one.
Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried ? How many times have I told the ancestors, you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us?
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do all the things I do? It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do my genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.