Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
In a Georgia cemetery:
John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Someone in Winslow, Maine didn't like Mr. Wood:
Yep -- I want ancestors with names like Rudimentary Montagnard or
Melchizedick von Steubenhoffmannschild or Spetznatz Gianfortoni, not
William Brown or John Hunter or Mary Abbott.
I want ancestors who could read and write, had their children baptized
In recognized houses of worship, went to school, purchased land, left
Detailed wills (naming a huge extended family as legatees), had their
Photographs taken once a year -- subsequently putting said pictures in elaborate
isinglass frames annotated with calligraphic inscriptions, and carved
voluble and informative inscriptions in their headstones. I want
relatives who managed to bury their predecessors in established, still-extant
(and indexed) cemeteries.
I want family members who wrote memoirs, who enlisted in the military
as officers and who served in strategically important (and well
documented) skirmishes. I want relatives who served as councilmen, schoolteachers,
county clerks and town historians. I want relatives who 'religiously' wrote in
the family Bible, journaling every little event and detailing the familial
relationship of every visitor.
In the case of immigrant progenitors, I want them to have arrived only
in those years wherein passenger lists were indexed by National Archives,
and I want them to have applied for citizenship, and to have done so only
in those jurisdictions which have since established indices.
I want relatives who were patriotic and clubby, who joined every
patrimonial society they could find, who kept diaries, and listed all
their addresses, who had paintings made of their horses, and who dated every
piece of paper they touched. I want forebears who were wealthy enough
to afford, and to keep for generations, the tribal homestead, and who left
all the aforementioned pictures and diaries and journals intact in the library.
But most of all, I want relatives I can find!!!
Barbara A. Brown
* Ms. Brown's "I Want" article was originally posted in 1994 to the National
Genealogical Conference, FIDO bulletin board forum.
1. You brake for libraries.
2. You hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery.
3. You would rather browse in a cemetery than a shopping mall.
4. You would rather read census schedules than a good book.
5. You are more interested in what happened in 1697 than 1997.
6. Jenkins, Murray and Godwin are household names, but you can't remember what to call the dog.
7. You can pinpoint Harriieysham, Hawkhurst, Kent, but you can't locate your state capitol on the map.
8. You know every register of deeds in the state by name, but they lock the doors when they see you coming.
9. You store your clothes under the bed, because your closet is full of books and papers.
10. You eat on the patio all the time because your dining room table is hidden by unsorted papers and there
are files in every chair.
11. All of your correspondence begins "Dear Cousin".
12. You have traced every one of your ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, have it documented, and still
don't want to quit.
13. You check out mailing lists looking for "real" cousins.
14. You're thrilled to get an e-mail with a BOOK attachment of part of your family.
15. When you introduce yourself, you always add "I'm looking for dead relatives!"
16. You eat at the computer.
17. You get withdrawal pains when you have to leave the computer.
18. Your computer stays on 24 hours a day and you check your e-mail every hour.
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt