"History is what we chose to remember.” ~ Joseph J. Ellis
I love this quote. It is by the author of the book that I am currently reading called, “The Cause;” which is about the American Revolutionary War and is part of my genealogy research.
As important as Shane and I feel history is; I am seeing that many stories are full of discrepancies or completely lost. People working on their own roots giving up their search when they cannot find an easy answer. I am finding many of those answers, and learning along the way, as we have mutual family members and I end up in their trees. In my research, I discover things that I never remembered learning in school.
One of my goals is to dig up stories within our own roots and share them in a book. It will take time, because I want facts to verify who actually belongs in our tree. It is time that I am willing to put in; and I hope some day to find that one ancestor that might lead to a grant to fund the entire project. For now, it’s small steps everyday. Even so, I’d like to share stories of the earliest of settlers who came to this free land, starting in the 1600’s, growing and moving west and south to find a better life. They too have interesting stories that need to be told. They all had a significant part to the founding of our Nation. They all have woven a beautiful and colorful tapestry of our roots throughout the land.
In the past, stories were lost in translation, lost from not having the ability to write things down immediately and just passing them down by memory. I remember my grandma telling me that births, marriages and deaths might not be registered until someone was able to go into town and tell someone to write it down. Often it took months and by that time, the date of an event could be off by days, weeks or even months.
Even as an event is documented, it changes ever so slightly. It is based on “his” story. We all know that the media is guilty of putting their own slant to a story. It also happened before technology. Sometimes, it was for lack of a calendar or education. Much of the spelling in old letters is phonetic and the cursive is not always perfect.
So why do we chose to remember what we do? Do we decide solely on our beliefs or how we were raised? Or do we research for ourselves and find the facts? I have my beliefs, but I still search out facts, before coming to any of my own conclusions. My gut instincts usually get the winning vote; but I have been known to change my opinion. It may just be the perfectionist in me; but I think in this instance, getting the facts is a good trait. I invite you to do the same, research and come up with your own conclusions.
Long ago, families were large out of necessity; children worked the land and the eldest took care of the youngest. Young widows and widowers married two and three times to provide for their children; which often resulted in more children. Love was often second to necessity or stature. In times when slavery was accepted, owners and slaves often found the love with each other, when they could not find it in their home. Other times, violent rapes resulted in children of mixed races. Children were also born out of the relations between Natives and the White Man.
This narrative is important when we look at history and how it is remembered. Today, there are those that completely ignore that slaves were not all Black. And not all Blacks were slaves. Most importantly, it was their own people that literally sold them as slaves. There were Freemen who stayed on with the only families that they ever knew, helping them on their own accord.
In conversation, I find myself reminding people whose families were part of the Great Migration of the 1600’s that they are ignorant to believe that they do not have mixed blood. Not just Black; there were children born from unions between the Tribal Nations and Hispanic, as the pioneers traveled west. So why is there still violence and discrimination over race? Are we not supposed to be a Melting Pot of diverse ethnicities, free from race, religion and creed? Many times, the ones fighting are of mixed blood and do not realize that they are fighting one of their own people. ALL peoples have both good and bad.
This week we heard about and situation involving a beautiful, intelligent, well spoken, God-fearing young lady; a friend, who was discriminated against because of the color of her skin. This was not her words. She merely implied to a situation that occurred days earlier when we were sharing some genealogical discoveries and were talking about modern day slavery going on right in front of humanity, but ignored. Our discussion brought her work associate to come in and reinforce that a customer showed blatant prejudicial behavior in their store. When Shane and I walked out of the store, we left with pure disgust toward this unknown person.
This all comes back to history. We turn a blind-eye to overt and inappropriate behavior, rather than
stand up. We rather deny history and chose to put ill-suited labels on people; ending up in needless distractions. The results? Unnecessary destructive behavior that never ends Study history and compare it to your life today. Study all of history to decide the facts for yourself and make a positive difference for your children and future generations. History does matter! The war continues on this land. Only we can stop it.