I am not into genealogy, though the doctor did take a DNA test today...scientists are learning how genetics influences disease. I have always been more interested in moving ahead than looking back, but those who do the family history are to be much admired, and if it weren't for my uncle I would not know I was related to Buffalo Bill. (True) When I was young, that was really cool, but now that I know he was a "showman" and big-time hunter, I have had second thoughts.
The document here lasted one hundred years. Not a long time when tracing your roots or relatives. And yet to me it seems ancient. The entries begin in 1826, and the last entry is dated 1927. One hundred years before the family lost interest and stopped keeping track. The latest death recorded was 1880 and it is still sad. The country was young when this record was started, but in the span of life on earth, this entire familial package doesn't even qualify as a freakin' blip.
I am sorry the entire document doesn't fit on the scanner, but we should be glad it remains at all. It has been in a flood or two and has been repaired, but at some point it was passed over or weeded out, and I found it abandoned in an antique mall.
The document itself was printed by Kellogg and Comstock, lithographers who churned them out and underpaid women to add the color by hand. They were second only to Currier and Ives in sales.
As the world shrinks, we will actually have to rely on science even more for our records. Travel and the growing population have put one tribe in touch with another to the extent that culture, language and heritage are even harder to trace and record. When one married the "girl next door" it was easy to know where she came from (of "good stock" probably) but now who knows?
I have been doing this blog a few years. It is surprising how many relatives of those I have mentioned or profiled have gotten in touch. I'm not too polite or delicate, but in all that time not one family member has written to criticize. Every single mail I have received from a surviving member, be their ancestors scoundrel or saint, has been to thank me. I am including the folks I put on old time religion and vintage sleaze as well...not one critical letter from a family member. I think we have lost so much of our roots, we are grateful for whatever we find. I have had former strippers, children of musicians, great grandchildren of artists, family members of postcard makers and more write to say "Thanks..."I didn't know that!"
(I try to generate heat, but the only complaints I have received came from a post where I made fun of Glenn Beck (which I ignored) and from a post where I roasted the "science" of chiropractic. I ignored them as well for the most part, but did refer a few to the Wiki article. I also got one or two angry notes from folks who didn't like my profile of scam artist Charles Jessup...so let's bring it up again HERE. Facts is facts.)
The important categories are Family, Born, Married and Died. Not died HOW, but died when and where. Although the family here came all the way from England, it looks like most of them never got out of Michigan after that. Having gotten out and returned, I know one could do both better and worse.
I won't be making any deathbed confessions (or having a deathbed conversion.) I am an open book for the most part, and now even my Deoxyribonucleic acid will be in digital form I guess. Medical confidentiality is sacred, but how many of you read the forms you sign? Eh...if whoever replaced J. Edgar wants my DNA, let him have it. At least I don't have to worry about some crime from decades ago coming up when they sort through my strands of genetic material. When I was ten, I was fingerprinted during a boy scout tour through a police station. That has never haunted me either!
Kellogg and Comstock Lithograph, embellished by hand circa 1825. Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE