Monday, January 5, 2015

52 WEEKS, 52 THEMES : No.1, FRESH START (mine)

In 2014, Amy Johnson Crow set out a year-long challenge: Write something about "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks". Whew & Yeah!!  I did it.  It was a tremendous challenge, and I accomplished it, week by week by week.  And along the way I found some mistakes or mixups between same-name relatives, limited searches in the past, general sloppiness, incomplete details, and more.

Here we are again.  2015, and a new challenge for 52 Weeks:  a new THEME to write on, each week. No. 1 Theme is "Fresh Start" - and I'm choosing to start with my own Fresh Start, with two parts to this post. 

First:  In terms of genealogy, oh my do I need a Fresh Start!  I need to tidy my digital clutter, eliminate all the duplicates, name things in a consistent fashion, fill in names/places/dates in an absolutely consistent way as well.  There's more, but the bottom line is - my family tree (which includes my children's father's tree as well) could do with a lot of cleaning up and polishing.  I suspect it will be a year-long task for me.

I've joined up with over 1,150 other genealogy nuts, committed to do a personal variation of "Genealogy Do-Over" under Thomas MacEntee's direction. I've even talked a friend into joining it, plus found two other people I know who will be participating in some fashion as well.  A community.  A smorgasbord of many ways to "do-over" one's genealogy. Love it! 

I'm trying to go slowly - it barely got started on Friday!  But I'm only too aware of the failings of my digital clutter, as listed above.  I have copied my GENEALOGY folder to my Google Drive, since there was room.  Almost out of sight.  I'm not the most organized person - my adult kids are snorting right now if they're reading the post! - but I've improved a lot over the past few years. 

Slowly I'm going to read Thomas' points, think about them, see if and how I might incorporate those ideas into my genealogy.  Slowly.  Then I'll think some more, and very slowly, begin to make everything a little more organized, more accessible, more understandable for others, for the long term.  Because you know and I know, I won't be around forever, and I hope my kids & their kids will enjoy poking through the histories of our family lines - and making sense of what they find.  

And here's the Second part to this post.  Genealogy all by itself gave me another fresh start in life when I began over a decade ago, some years before I retired.  I'd experienced severe emotional abuse from my mother for most of my early life, into my mid-teens, which reverberated throughout my life for years. Nasty demeaning soul-tearing experiences... and mothers aren't supposed to be mean like that, are they?!  Luckily, a few decades ago, the BC Medical Plan paid for twice-weekly psychiatrist visits for years - which helped immensely.  It was so reassuring to find someone competent whom I trusted.

So the original reason I wanted to get into my family history was truly to understand that I came from a much larger 'family' than just my 'difficult' mother and father.  I wanted to know there was a bigger family history which influenced our ancestors and their ancestors and their... 

At this point in time, I can tell you that I am feeling hugely settled inside, more emotionally balanced. And I can see the many lines, the many ancestors who contributed to the making of "me".  It has been a very heartening experience, to learn about the challenges, histories, and lives of so many of my ancestors. Fascinating and instructive.  

Fresh Starts.  They come in many forms. Next week, the theme is "Kings"... hmmm.  I'm off to look at my ancestors now.


Patricia Greber said...

What a great post about your do-over and your journey! Genealogy is my happy place too!

Tessa Keough said...

Celia - I think you are a reader and I would encourage you to read The Boys in the Boat - both from the standpoint of the history of the Pacific Northwest (and I have family that went back and forth over that Canadian/US border) and what family is - not necessarily the one we were born with. My heart goes out to you because of your childhood and thanks for reminding us that total healthcare is so important (physical, emotional and mental health care). All the best to you in 2015 Celia (I think you will love the book).

Celia Lewis said...

Thanks Patricia, I really appreciate your comments! There are so many pathways in life, aren't there? Between Genealogy and Romance writing, I'm very happy these days.

Celia Lewis said...

Hi Tessa, thanks for your comments and suggestions. I've put a Hold on The Boys in the Boat - it sounds very interesting!
As for my past, it is what it is, and I'm happy with who I am now. And I know how very lucky I have been to be living in BC with such good health support for all my medical and mental health needs over the decades. Sometimes one needs to ask for help.
I'm a heavy reader - reading almost a book a day is normal for me, by the way. Cheers.


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis