I saw this tonight on MyHeritage – History: Dry dates, dusty places: https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/01/history-dry-dates-dusty-places/. Shortened the article as it was around 1,000 words. Good read.
by Schelly January 20, 2020
Have you thought about the fact that while genealogists are historians — it is an integral element of our quest for knowledge — historians may not be genealogists?
How do genealogists gain understanding and perspective when dealing with history? History to a genealogist is not the dry historical happenings of a distant past but is often very personal history, events that our ancestors either lived through or died from as a result.
I was usually bored in my high school and college history classes, except for some specific topics, such as Sephardic history. Who cared about all those other dates and places? What did those events have to do with me?
My interest in history changed dramatically once I began working on my family’s history, and I began following my ancestors back over the centuries in Iran, Spain, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Israel, and the US.
Suddenly, those dry boring dates and dusty forgotten places became important and personal, as I learned that my ancestors lived there or were eyewitnesses to, or participants in those same historical events.
Genealogy is more than just lists of names and dates, it is about our ancestors as people. How did they live? Where did they go and why? How did circumstances and historical events impact their lives? History becomes personal if there is a tie to specific times and places where our ancestors lived.
It was somewhat of a shock when I realized that if one of my direct ancestors had died — before producing children — as a result of an epidemic, a war or a sinking boat, then I would not be alive today. This realization hits every genealogist at some point, and it brings everything back to an extremely personal reality. When I taught genealogy to elementary and junior high students, I would discuss this very point and student reactions were interesting as they came to the same realization.
While researching an article on genealogy in New Mexico, I came across an article by Karen Stein Daniel, editor of the New Mexico Genealogist, published by the New Mexico Genealogical Society.
Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com