Monday, March 29, 2010

If I Could Time Travel

Time travel has always fascinated me so much, that I read and watch everything I can about the subject. It would be more interesting for me to travel back in time than to travel forward. There are so many people, famous and not so famous, that you could meet and ghost towns of today that were not in the 1800's.

As a genealogist, I would find time travel a wonderful tool. Searching for the elusive ancestor and hitting the proverbial brick wall is frustrating to say the least. To travel back in time and meet my ancestors would be wonderful. As a time traveler, being an enumerator for the census would be an interesting job and I would be in an ideal position to say, "Ok, make sure you are around for the census. No, I don't care that it takes you months to get somewhere by covered wagon. Census records are important, so you need to settle down somewhere before the next one."

Census records are one of many records needed to prove your lineage if you want to get into the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) or the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution). Wills, deeds, birth, death and marriage records, photos of headstones, naturalization records, passenger lists and obituaries are all documents that prove the relationship between parents and children or tell you what country your ancestors immigrated from. Passing these items down, along with stories from generation to generation is helpful. Some families are great record keepers while other families don't see the importance.

I'd love to travel back in time and meet my elusive ancestors. You better believe that I would have a thing or two to tell them...

"I know you only have a wagon, but make a will anyway and leave the danged thing to one of your children."

"You say you came to America from Germany or Ireland, make sure your children know what the name of the ship was. Designate a member of the family to be the storyteller. Tell them to pass the job on to one of their children and continue on down the line. Some day, one of your descendants will want this information."

"Teach your children that naturalization papers, birth and marriage records, deeds, diary's and papers from the old country are valuable and shouldn't be used to start a fire in the fireplace."

"So you don't want to have your photo taken. So what! Do it anyway!"

"Keep a journal. It will be interesting to your ancestors. Knowing what a day in your life was like would be so interesting to them."

I am quite certain that those elusive ancestors didn't crawl out from under a rock to have my great grandmother and crawl back under or my 3 great grandfather didn't swim to America from Ireland. There just has to be documents out there somewhere proving that they weren't dropped in America by alien beings. I just have to look in the right place. When I find them, you will need earplugs because you'll hear me shouting, "I finally found you!"

© Karen A J Rinehart


  1. Time Travel would, indeed, be beneficial in many ways. And I agree with you, I'd prefer to travel to the past. For me, it would be the only way to learn anything about my ancestry on my unknown father side of my bloodline. And, oh yes, I would have a thing or two to say!

    I love how you tied the writing together at the end... Yes, it would be nice to find my father crawling out from under his rock so I could say, "I finally found you!"

  2. Karen you make me want to time travel right along with you. I haven't started my own genealogy yet but some day I intend to so this was very interesting read.

  3. Ruthi, I know how frustrating it is for me with lines that don't go back very far. I can't imagine your frustration. If you only had his name. I truly feel for you on this matter.

    Thank you so much for your comments. They are appreciated.

  4. Thank you so much for your comments, Lena. They are greatly appreciated.

    I hope you have lots of luck with your genealogy. Right now, I'm unable to find some of my immigrant ancestors. I know the country but just unable to place them on a ship to America. I will though, someday, when I least expect it. Always happens that way.