Family history and Genealogy have been walking hand-in-hand with Time for far too many years. Playfully, they tease many researchers by revealing vibrant testaments of heroism, sacrifice and devotion – provided you know where to look! And once in a while (maybe twice), if you are very lucky, they will drop a land-mine in your lap!
A land-mine of overwhelming information! Some of it, you already possess in your research database, but the vast majority of it is new to you. Excited, you devour all you can only to realize: everything you thought you knew about one particular ancestor is flawed.
Now, as a genealogist, one questions everything that comes into your scope of research. With proper citations, evidence and follow-up, answers are recorded and then used as a springboard to catapult your work further back through Time.
As a history buff, this same information gives a sense of pride that your family was there in the thick of it! They were active participants (whether voluntary or not). They may have been subjected to loss of property or the unfortunate statistics of collateral damage.
This bundle of new information is heavily cited. It is going to take a little money and a lot of time to vet; but that doesn’t bother you.
It’s the subject matter.
It questions all that you know about that brief moment in time. It paints a far darker event: your ancestor’s involvement was NOT in the military role that you originally believed him to be!
You pour another cup of strong coffee, sit down in front of your computer, read through the documents again, and rattle your brain wondering:
“SHE did it?” you say aloud to your computer, which hums quietly and attentively at you, encouraging your next three questions.
“Did he take the fall/blame for HER?”
“HOW did she get away with it?”
You move to the floor and fan out every page, barricading yourself in the corner of the room.
Coloured sticky notes with “How?” “Fall” and “Why?” are slapped on the pages in question; but it still is too much to grasp.
Tip-toeing over the documents, you rummage through your cabinets and bankers boxes. His time-line is somewhere in one of them! Unfortunately, with the growing magnitude of unanswered questions swirling around, you cannot recall exactly where that precious time-line is.
After half an hour, you have a teetering pile of file folders from the emptied cabinet drawer blocking the door into the room, and the time-line in your hands!
Spreading it out, you fetch a different coloured pad of sticky notes, and begin re-organizing the questionable papers chronologically.
After what seems a few minutes, there’s a knock on the door, and a familiar voice asks if you’re coming to bed.
“It’s after eleven,” your loved one tells you, slowly prying the door open only to be stopped by the, now, toppling heap of sprawling folders.
You hear a heavy sigh of exasperation from behind the door.
“I’m in the middle of something,” you apologetically answer as they peer in to see you sitting in the center of the room surrounded by scraps of paper. “I won’t be long, I promise.”
Your spouse nods half-heartedly and rolls their eyes. Before closing the door, they say that they love you and bid you good night as you return to your some-what organized little mess.
The beginnings of a headache starts behind your eyes. You remove your glasses with one hand and rub your strained eyes with the other; then after properly returning your eyeglasses to your head, you look up at the clock on the wall.