Story–The Difference Between Personal History and Genealogy

Family Tree Stories

Think of it this way, a genealogy is like your family tree; it has roots, a trunk and branches. It’s useful and there is beauty in the structure, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A personal history, on the other hand, is like putting leaves and maybe even fruit (or nuts?) on the family tree. It’s the stories behind the framework of who begat who and who married who, usually in the reverse order.


Baker, Butcher, Candlestick Maker?


We all have family stories and legends about the folks who came to America and why. Some of you were here first and had to watch all the neighbors moving in. Some came for opportunity. Others came because opportunity had run out where they were. Some were on the wrong side of a political uprising. Pirates, tinkers, farmers, teachers, wheelwrights and preachers, as well as everyone in between. Who’s hanging out in your back-story?

All these ancestral immigrants shared a common humanity and a desire for a better life. Sometimes it was the choice between death where they were and life in a new country. Think about all the fascinating stories you can dig up behind those old black and white photos or the tales Grandma used to tell. Dig a little deeper, ask some questions and take some notes. Can you imagine your grandkids not knowing what Great Uncle Mike or Abuelo Jose did working in the fields or mines to create a new life out of sheer grit and determination? They need to know. Period.


You might be surprised; those kiddos may just put down the IPod to hear the story. Make them hungry for their history!


In her blog, Quiet Revolution, Susan Cain shares an amazing story about family and provides some wonderful guidance for telling your own history. Read it at:

Take a step in the direction of growing some of those leaves on that family tree and discover the fascinating history behind your genealogy. Contact me to get started, I would love to hear your story.

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    Karen Ray

    Address: 331 Bristol Avenue, Las Cruces, NM, 88001

    Phone: 575-323-1048