Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

September 16, 2013

Reflections on a Pet Peeve

Mineral Wells Index

— I know I have mentioned part of this to you before, but as I am stumbling around trying to help someone with their family tree, I am coming across it once again.

I do not understand why anyone who took all the trouble to research a family tree would then hide it, not only from the world, but from their own family. That simply blows my mind.

I am the registrar for the Ralph Ripley Chapter DAR here in Mineral Wells, and my primary function is to assist people who want to join DAR by finding and connecting them to ancestors who were American patriots during the Revolutionary War. My second task is to assist them in filling out and filing their applications and dealing with the national Daughters of the American Revolution.

Granted, researching families can be quite tricky, but I have come across quite a few families where someone has done extensive research. They have proven, and documented, the family line, and they refuse to share it with their family. Not only is it mean-spirited and selfish, but it really makes no sense – at least, it doesn’t to me.

If you have watched Ancestry.com’s television series “Who Do You Think You Are?” you might have seen the recent episode where Trisha Yearwood was highlighted. She commented in the advertisement that perhaps they would find horse thieves, but she wanted to know about her family – about the first member to come to the New World. And, low and behold, her ancestor was sent to the American colony by the King of England because he stole deer – almost a horse thief! And that was her family history. She also discovered that the family she was researching lived in the same county in Georgia in which she herself was born and raised. What wonderful, interesting history.

Now, perhaps someone out there is embarrassed to have a horse thief, but I say, “Get over it! It’s history!” If you aren’t a horse thief, a murderer, or whatever, you should just put it down to family history. It’s what happened. You can’t change it, and it is a shame if you hide it. So what?

Hey, my great-grandfather, whom I actually met, was a Texas Ranger, but once he rode his horse into a church, roped the preacher, drug him outside and horse-whipped him. Hey, perhaps that preacher needed it, but anyway, it’s in the past, it’s over and it’s my history.

And if we don’t save and share these family stories, they will certainly be lost. Is that what you want after all the trouble you went to discovering your past?

My grandchildren simply love to hear the stories I heard as children, and there may be cousins out there who haven’t heard the stories but who would like to and would benefit from them. Therefore I share everything with everyone who’s interested.

Our past makes us who we are. It is part of the fabric of our existence, and whether it’s a horse thief or a king who is our forebear, it’s still our history, our story, a part of us!

I beg you, don’t hide your family history. Tell it, write it down, share it, enjoy it! It’s all about you!