Genealogy Makes History
by Dick Hefton
Being a bit of Personal Privilege, this column falls on my Birthday Week, February 6! Aquarius types by definition “don’t do anything they don’t want to do.” Writing “Reflections” columns has been a joy these near ten years which I’ve valued greatly along with the focus and fellowship founded in Club 29, over my long Rotary trek. 2022 will close out 60 years serving in 3 great clubs; McAlester, Midwest City, OKC Club #29!
My leading interest centers around history, current events, world affairs and interesting people who make things happen in apparently small or unheralded ways. Writing the occasional Rotary Reflection has allowed me a slow descent from 30-some years high – flying duties paired with 50 years of newspaper work, punctuated with 25 – years of two editorials and four personal columns weekly.
For one, Genealogy, if used with historical considerations is a real history illuminator offering easy access, tips, hints from numerous frees services. Before computers, Family Search, Ancestry and other special programs Genealogy was once akin to Archeology; the difference being digging into court and census records instead of spoons in the dirt. Now it’s a game anyone can play. For those simply tracing their roots is satisfaction enough. Others trace until they find a horse thief in there past and drop quietly out. Others, like me, are captivated by the “Who, What, When, Where Why and even How” and solving the “mysteries enshrouded in the enigmas.”
A few history teachers combine the two techniques to awake young students when the curse involves a certain period by assigning students a search for ancestors of the period under study. Some classes are asked to trace grand-parents or challenge to trace ancestors as far as they can backtrack, awarding prizes. Such programs tie students to the time, holding interest, participation and planting keys to permanent recall. And with free genealogy computer service use, at no cost!
Dick, happy birthday, and thanks for these thoughts! My Dad was into genealogy and dug clear back to our roots in England in the 1600’s. This fall, Covid permitting, Judy and I will visit those villages along the Jurassic coast.
If I were Editor, I’d fire you for this on!