Who Cares About The Begats?


My view of genealogy has always been that it’s pretty much an exercise in reading “The Begats.” Excruciatingly boring. As the names go on and on and on, who CARES who begat whom?

Family Tree Maker© to the Rescue–Or Not

In the 1990s, when having a computer was still a novelty for me, I tried my hand at building my family tree with Family Tree Maker©, but somewhere around the fourth generation back, there would start to be too many people hanging from too many branches, and the whole tree would just topple over. I finally gave up.

So Why Now?

So why start a family history blog now? I would have to say guilt, mostly. My mother recently moved into assisted living, and I became the keeper of The Family Archives–the families in question being the Browns of Lexington, Massachusetts and the Moores of Economy, Nova Scotia. (The Gustins and the Gauffreaus will enter the story by a different route.)

When I think of how this stuff came to be in my possession, it all seems so sad. The surviving remnants of people’s lives shoved into cardboard boxes after my grandfather died and carted to my aunt’s attic, to reemerge some thirty years later when she died, stored by two cousins for a time, hauled over to my mother’s so she could write her family history, and finally landing with me.

As a fiction writer, I am much more interested in family history–the narratives, the images, the lived and felt lives–than I am in the Brown and Moore versions of The Begats. My hope is that taking the time to get to know my family’s genealogy will lead me to who these people were and why they still matter.

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