At Play In The Archive
The thing that fascinates me most about genealogy is the realization that I am who I am today because of decisions made by and events that happened to my ancestors. We like to think that we’re the masters of our own destinies — and, to be sure, we bear the responsibility for making the best of things once we’re here — but where we begin the journey is entirely up to the people who came before us. Why am I here and not there? Why do I have this and not that? What if my 12th great-grandfather had taken an arrow to the heart instead of to the foot in battle, or my 10th great-grandmother had become a nun rather than a wife? One change somewhere along the line, and suddenly we might not exist, or we might be a completely different nationality, or we might be driving a Lada rather than a Ford, or making Inkulal Firfir for breakfast instead of plain old scrambled eggs.
Megan Smolenyak (squared), a giant in the field of genealogy with a wonderful blog, does a particularly great job of illustrating the idea that the decisions of our ancestors form who we become. Take five and watch her explain how Pharrell Williams almost wasn’t.
And, because I get happy every time I see these pictures, here are two of my People wearing some serious Pharrell hats, back when they were cool the first time around.
What decisions are we making today that will affect the destiny our descendants? It’s impossible to tell, but I do know one thing. We can all do a better job of labeling our pictures and other artifacts. Seriously, People, do your descendants a favor and go make a few notes about something precious right now. Go on, do it, and have a happy Tuesday.