Wednesday, October 28, 2009
What do you call them?
What do you call a direct ancestor you've never met?
I used to say I was looking for "Henry C. Meinzen" or "Elvira Bartley Gerner" or whoever it was. Then I began saying I was looking for "my great-grandfather, Henry C. Meinzen" or "my great-grandmother, Elvira Bartley Gerner." When talking to my family about my searches, they knew who I meant when I said "Elvira" or "Henry C." But something just didn't seem right. If those ancestors were alive, I certainly wouldn't address them as Henry C. or Elvira. So in my mind I've begun thinking of them as Gramma Elvira and Grampa Henry.
For me, family history and genealogy are not about names and dates but about relatives I haven't yet had the opportunity to meet. Their bodies are dead but I believe their spirits live on and that we'll meet when we arrive in eternity. It will be a happy day for me because those relatives I've been able to find will not be strangers to me. I will at least recognize their names and that they are family.
So, what do you call deceased relatives you've never met?