08 July 2012

How Two Audiobooks Helped Me Prepare for My Research Trip

I started calling my trip to Columbus, Ohio a Journey to the Past somewhere during the drive from Iowa. I was headed to Columbus early Sunday morning May 20th. Normally I do not like to do anything on Sundays besides worshiping and spending time with my family. My husband-approved research trip was going to cover a lot of ground, so he suggested that I traveled on Sundays and use the week days for research. Thank you honey. You're the best! Have I mentioned that he took a week off from work to watch our five young children while I went gallivanting through Ohio? I know I'm SO blessed.

This is the rental car I used for my journey Ohio. I'm used to
driving a minivan. Being in this sassy number was kind of fun.


The drive to Ohio can take 8 hours with minimal stops, so I knew I would need something to listen to to keep me awake. Channel surfing while driving cross country is difficult, but on Sunday's it's even worse. There are just not a lot of options. So, I picked up some audio books prior to the trip. I selected a wonderful book called America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin and The American Revolution by George H. Smith. What I didn't expect was these two books touched me with many spiritual lessons (and some genealogical inspiration). I suppose since I couldn't be in church, I could be uplifted through these CDs.

The things I loved about Sarah Palin's books is that she's unabashedly pro-family and pro-America. She is religious without being better than anyone else. She shared lessons about being a mother, an Alaskan, and Christian. She shared how these facets of her life affect the choices and work she does in her public life. What I took away was the support to be a mother and wife. I can use the love I have for Texas and America to shape my future. And, everyone has a part to play in this country. I may never have the name recognition that Sarah Palin has, but I can affect the world around me in positive ways. And, if necessary, stand up for the beliefs I have just like her Aunt Kate. And the whole epiphany fits into my genealogical quest, my Journey to the Past. No matter what I would find in the days ahead, who I am today is important. Whether I'm breaking a cycle of bad habits or building upon a legacy, what I do will matter to my posterity. Pretty weird connection, huh?

The American Revolution series wasn't what I had expected. I thought it might talk about the battles and the struggles for freedom. Instead the lectures spoke of the philosophies and beliefs that created the culture of revolution. I didn't realize just how religious many of the political leaders were and how comfortable they were about their faith in public life. And it struck a cord.

A fabulous lesson in history and the faith
of our founding fathers



These men didn't want to have any religion set above another in this country. Most Americans at that time were from Europe. They knew their history and their religion. They knew of the many lives and years wasted in the name of a national religion. They saw followers of Christ killed when one religion was elevated over another only to see those persecuted become the persecutors when their religion was in favor. The American leaders did not want this repeated in America. However, they never thought that religion would be cast out of public life. Sure you didn't have to affiliated with a particular group to be religious but you don't have to hide or divorce yourself from your faith to be a business person or a political leader.

Unfortunately, today it seems the conventional wisdom is that people of faith 'cling to their guns and their Bible.' And somehow this is perceived as negative. I strongly believe guns, when used properly, keep the power of our government in check. He who has the guns, has the power. If the guns are only in the power of our government, who has the power to protect whom? As far as faith... only a moral people can truly be free. Sure history has some moral leaders but the temptation to be corrupt and power hungry has overcome far too many leaders. To what end? Shall we enumerate the examples?

So in the American Revolution series, I felt appreciation for the men who helped shape the country. And, I can imagine them clinging to their guns and religion and it's not a bad thing. In fact, if they hadn't, America would be a vastly different country today. And how did the author of the book have all this information? Through personal diaries, letters, meeting records, transcribed speeches, preserved broadsides, and so much, much more. So, genealogical records tell the history of the individual, as well as the collective. Pretty cool stuff.

So how in the world does all this play into my personal Journey to the Past? When we take a journey into the past, we want to understand the culture and philosophies of our ancestors and their communities. We have to understand that what they did, where they lived, and when the lived impacted their decisions as much as who was in their family. In so doing, we learn more about them. And, when we learn about them, we understand ourselves.

I hadn't realized how powerful these audiobooks would be when I selected them in the library. I simply wanted something that would keep me awake as I drove solo to Ohio. But, what I selected lifted my spirits for the present and helped me understand the past. And when my car arrived in Columbus, my mind and heart were in a clear state to accomplish a lot of genealogical work. Who knew?

This is the first installment of a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If I tried to tell a friend everything I experienced and found on my trip, it would take hours. And then I'd have to repeat it to another friend of family member. I thought the best way to share all this information would be to blog about it.  I hope you'll enjoy each post as much as I feel in sharing these experiences. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Devon-- what a wonderful post, thank you. Yup, a lot of people think that "freedom of religion" means "freedom FROM religion." It just means that we're not supposed to have a nationally recognized church-- no one can say "The United States is an Anglican/Catholic/Baptist" country.

    I love conservative commentator Pat Condell-- he's great, but unfortunately, he's an atheist, and the problems he rightly identifies is due to the very lack of faith in public life that he advocates. Hopefully one day he'll see that.

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