By Candice Lynn Buchanan
Maybe it isn’t the proper thing to do, and maybe I am the only one who has done it, though I doubt it, but I do have my favorite surname to research, my favorite branch in the family tree, and my favorite ancestor.
Family trees grow exponentially as you research. A good genealogy quote is that “whenever you solve one problem you gain two more.” So, it is logical for a genealogist to choose a part of the family to specialize in, at least for a time.
Choosing a favorite ancestor,
I believe, happens more by accident. I have several favorites, to be honest,
and all share certain qualities, but one particular ancestor stands apart
from all the others.
Sadie was born into a good family, money wasn’t hard, and she had the opportunities of religion, education and fine company. Such circumstances did not prevent tragedy though; an older sister and two younger brothers died as small children, so that only Sadie and her sisters Harriet and Mary grew to adulthood. The three girls graduated Waynesburg College in the 1860s, Sadie in 1868, her graduation photograph preserving her image and drawing my attention to her early in my genealogy search.
I’m not an advocate of leaving anybody out of the family tree; I think tracing every cousin is essential. But I do know that those unintended favorites will quite possibly get a little more spotlight than some of the other ancestors.
It is interesting to me to understand why I am so intrigued by an ancestor like Sadie. She is not a direct ancestor, she is actually my first cousin 4 times removed; yet, I know more about her than I do about many of my great-grandmothers or grandfathers on the family tree.
My conclusion is fairly simple. Sadie is one of several favorites, all of whom are eternally young due to unfortunately short lives. While they all share an element of tragedy, it is really the stories of the lives they did live that interest me. I began my genealogy at the age of 14, and I am now just 25. I realize that these young people are the most like me, though in their own time. I relate to them as though they are my peers. And, undeniably, deep down as much as I do not want my story to be lost, I do not want to allow their stories to be lost either. I have also always been one to route for the underdog and so it seems the more likely an ancestor’s story is to be lost the more interested I am in discovering it.
All material within this
web site has been compiled by Candice Buchanan <email@example.com>
(63 W. Franklin St.; Waynesburg, PA 15370).
Data sources documented whenever possible. Contributors credited for shared information. Questions, feedback and contributions welcome.
Copyright © 2003-2008 Candice Buchanan. All rights reserved.