I am very thankful for all of the Ancestors that I have been blessed to come to know because of Genealogy. 90% of them were unknown to me a mere 15 years ago. The other 10% were just distant acquaintances. I have spent untold hours researching their lives, writing their stories and bringing them back to life.
Now it is confession time. Hello, my name is Valerie and I am a “Jealous Genealogist”. I don’t want to be, I hate that I feel that way and I sometimes question why I am like this. I honestly am excited when others find that Ancestor they have been looking for over many years. I have even cried tears of joy when a friend broke through a solid brick wall and added dozens of Ancestors to her tree. But, in the back of my heart the jealousy creeps in.
Today I was absolutely shocked that not only did that old “Green eyed” monster present itself once again, but it did so in a very inconvenient place. In Church! I know …I am ashamed; it just snuck up on me. Let me explain. During the service a woman named Ella sang a song. She and I had talked a few weeks before and I discovered that she was a Creek Indian. I was so thrilled to meet another Creek because the tradition in my family is that my maternal great Grandfather was a Creek Indian. Before she began Ella gave a little background about the song she was going to perform in her Native Creek language. It was one that her 5 times great Grandmother had sung while walking the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma back in 1836. She explained that the dress she was wearing was one her 5x great Grandmother would have worn and she showed us her bare feet and told us that when the soldiers came to force them to begin the long walk her 5x great Grandmother had been without shoes and the soldiers would not let her go get them. Ella spoke with such love and respect for her Ancestors that when she started to sing I began to cry. Although I was trying to fight back the tears I lost that battle and soon my entire face was wet from wiping away the flood of water coming from my eyes. Although I did not understand one word she sang it was extremely moving.
Then it happened, the envy that Ella knew all of this about her Ancestors, not from countless hours of research but from her family passing down their stories, and it began to grip my heart. She had heard these accounts directly from her great Grandmother who had heard them directly from her own great Grandmother. I felt like the lowest of the low because I was so jealous.
We all have those brick walls that we are desperate to break through. Some of us have spent years and tremendous amounts of money on documents and research trips trying to find that one little nugget that will remove the first brick of the wall. I think, no I know that jealousy is a natural, normal human emotion that we all feel at one time or another. So I am going to stop being jealous over others success in finding their “nuggets”. Oh who am I kidding? I know I will probably continue to get jealous when someone acquires that old family diary, or when they discover the photo of their 3x great Grandparents.
I will however continue to be happy for them as well and I will be thankful for each and every discovery that I make on my own tree. Hearing about other people’s successes in their research gives me hope that one day, hopefully sooner than later, I will finally break through all of my unmovable walls. Until then just remember, when you share the great news of your fantastic discoveries there is at least one “Jealous Genealogist” out there who is turning green with envy!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.