Genealogy Prose and Poetry

My feelings are in each family we are called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, Breathing life into all who have gone before.

We are the story tellers of the tribe. We have been called as it were by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count.

How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us?

How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do?

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today.

It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up.

Their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are.

 That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, Because we are them and they are us. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.

It is up to that one called in the next generation, To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.

That is why I do my family genealogy, And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

Author Unknown

Dear Ancestor
(Dedicated to those who have gone before us)

Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own
Dear Ancestor...the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
I wonder if you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.
Author Unknown

Searching for an Ancestor
I went searching for an ancestor; I cannot find him still.
He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.
He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.
He avoided any man who came to take the U.S. Census.
He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame,
And every 20 years or so, this rascal changed his name.
His parents came from Europe; they should be upon some list
Of passengers to U.S.A., but somehow they got missed.
And no one else in this world is searching for this man;
So I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.
I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed;
But weather took the engraving, and some vandals took the rest.
He died before the county clerks decided to keep records.
No Family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts.
To top it off this ancestor, who caused me many groans,
Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named Jones.
author unknown

The Census Taker

It was the first day of census, and all through the land
The pollster was ready, a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride,
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
A long winding ride down a road barely there,
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.
She gave him some water as they sat at a table
And she answered his questions...the best she was able.
He asked of her children; Yes, she had quite a few,
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red,
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
He noted the sex, the color, the age.
The marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head
And saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
The places of birth she'll "never forgot",
Was it Kansas? Or Utah? Or Oregon, or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear,
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such,
They could read some and write some, though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done,
So he mounted his horse and rode toward the sun.
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp, it's now you and me,
As we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long ago day
That the entries they made would affect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real?
We can hear, if we listen, the words they impart
Through their blood in our veins and their voices in our heart.
Author Unknown

Today I Visited Yesterday
by Pat Conner Rice
Today I visited yesterday,
and walked among the graves
of family and friends from long, long ago.
Whose memory had begun to fade.
The graves were unattended,
as were my thoughts of them.
When a vision of the ages past,
brought back my sense of kin.
The vision showed the church lawn,
on a crisp summer day.
The table spread, the food prepared,
and friends who would break bread.
All my relatives were there
both young and old........
Grandma and I walked hand and hand,
sharing stories never told.
We laughed and cried and shared our
And I found the friend I thought I'd lost.
As the sun began to fade.....
the church bell rang out clear.
Grandma and the others slowly disappeared.....
Today I visited yesterday,
and now the memory is strong
of the family from which I came

Grandma Climbed The Family Tree
There's been a change in Grandma, we've noticed as of late
She's always reading history, or jotting down some date.
She's tracing back the family, we all have pedigrees.
Grandma's got a hobby, she's climbing Family Trees...
Poor Grandpa does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
He even has to wash the cups and the dinner plates.
Well, Grandma can't be bothered, she's busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the Family Tree.
She has no time to baby sit, the curtains are a fright.
No buttons left on Grandpa's shirt, the flower bed's a sight.
She's given up her club work, the serials on TV,
The only thing she does nowadays is climb the Family Tree.
The mail is all for Grandma, it comes from near and far.
Last week she got the proof she needs to join the DAR.
A monumental project - to that we all agree,
A worthwhile avocation - to climb the Family Tree.
There were pioneers and patriots mixed with our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Grandma, whose eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the Family Tree.
To some it's just a hobby, to Grandma it's much more.
She learns the joys and heartaches of those who went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept - and now for you and me,
They live again, in spirit, around the Family Tree.
At last she's nearly finished, and we are each exposed.
Life will be the same again, this we all suppose.
Grandma will cook and sew, serve crullers with our tea.
We'll have her back, just as before that wretched Family Tree...
Author Unknown

Cooking? Cleaning? I'd Rather do Genealogy!
They think that I should cook and clean, and be a model wife.
I tell them it's more interesting to study Grandpa's life.
They simply do not understand why I hate to go to bed . . .
I'd rather do two hundred years of research work instead.
Why waste the time we have on earth just snoring and asleep?
When we can learn of ancestors that sailed upon the deep?
We have priests, Rabbis, lawmen, soldiers, more than just a few.
And yes, there's many scoundrels, and a bootlegger or two.
How can a person find this life an awful drudge or bore?
When we can live the lives of all those folks who came before?
A hundred years from now of course, no one will ever know
Whether I did laundry, but they'll see our Tree and glow . . .
'Cause their dear old granny left for them, for all posterity,
not clean hankies and the like, but a finished family tree.
My home may be untidy, 'cause I've better things to do . . .
checking all the records to provide us with a clue.
Old great granny's pulling roots and branches out with glee,
Her clothes ain't hanging out to dry, she's hung up on The Tree.
by: Mel Oshins

Portrait on a Wall
Sometime, when I have become a quiet portrait on the wall,
Will you, my fair descendant, stop to think of me at all?
Suppose your hands are shaped like mine and you have my keen sense of fun.
Will there be one to tell you so...then...when my days are done?
If you love books and fires and songs, and silver moons in velvet skies,
Toss me a look of shared delight from those, my own dark eyes.
For there are kinships in a curl and namesakes in a spoken name;
The wine of life may yet be poured by faded hands within a frame.
Author Unknown

Up in the attic
Down on my knees
Lifetimes of boxes
Timeless to me
Letters and photgraphs
Yellowed with years
Some bringing laughter
Some bringing tears
Time never changes
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me
All that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom
To me.
~ Author: Amy Grant ~

The Old Family Album
The old family album, the pages are worn,
From turning and browsing they are tattered and torn,
For memories are sweet ones, we like to repeat ones,
We live them again in the old family album.
Now picture the family, we're all having fun,
We're in this together--parents, daughters, and sons.
For pictures are share times, those family affair times,
We live them again in the old family album.
The camera is snapping while gifts we're unwrapping.
lens is recording our group as we're boarding.
shutter is clicking while baby is kicking,
all to record in the old family album.
So stand all together, remember to smile.
We'll all be recorded in family group style.
The camera is ready, now everyone steady,
And we'll be a page in the old family album.
~Author Unknown

The Family Quilt
Our family quilt was started
generations in the past.
Designed with love, its pattern's rich
in values that will last.
Each person sews another square
of memories that endure,
While challenges add strength
that makes our family life secure.
And stitching it together~
threads of closeness,
warmth, and caring
Make it cozy and more comforting
with every year of sharing.
Author unknown

AHGP Henry County


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