Sometimes, when researching ancestors, it's easy to get into the mindset of searching for names and dates - birth, marriage, and death dates - just to get back one more generation.
But I can't do it that way. Of course I am always elated when I find one of my ancestor's parents and the evidence that supports the relationship. It's cause for celebration. But that name on a census, or any other document, represents a person who lived a life, and I want to find out more about the person, more about the time period or location in which he or she lived. As my searches go further back in time, I suppose it will get harder to find information about individuals, but still I will search with the hope of finding.
My ancestors are not just names on pieces of paper. They are relatives. They are individuals who lived full and vibrant lives. Their challenges and joys were different than mine. And yet we're not so very different. I'm sure my feelings mirror theirs when I am joyful at a marriage, the birth of a baby, the purchase of property; saddened at the death of a loved-one, the loss of a home to some disaster, an injury that caused pain.
I look forward to the time (or eternity) when I can visit with my ancestors and learn about their lives first hand, to hear about their joys and sorrows, their challenges and achievements. How interesting and what fun it will be!
Yes, we're born, we live, (and sometimes marry), and then we die. But there's sure a whole lot that happens between the first and last of those events! For both my ancestors and me!