I finally was able to turn off the computer and scanner around 5 pm. I had accomplished more than I ever thought possible. I had more leads and more mysteries. I had photos that I've never seen and stories I didn't know. I had bonded with my aunt Shelley, connected with Geiszler cousins, and met some amazing strangers. I found help nearly every where I went. I also found heartache and disappointment. I found frustrating moments. The research trip was more of a roller-coaster than I had expected.
My Journey to the Past was over. I think I seek after genealogy because as a child, my extended family was so far from us. In those days, we didn't travel from Texas to Ohio often. Long distance phone calls were expensive. My Grannie and Shelley always made an effort make our far distant family feel loved and included. My Geiszler family was not involved with us at all. I only saw my Geiszler Grandparents twice that I remember after we moved to Texas. The other Geiszlers were names on a family tree and no more.
In my own family, my father has died, my mother is disabled and unable to travel much, and my brother and his wife are busy with their family. I live in Iowa and though technology is great, the connection of my children to their Geiszler cousins is very minute.
So I guess I do family research, not just because my Latter-Day Saint faith encourages me too, but because I hope to find connections to people who are related to me. I yearn for the family stories and inside jokes that only families have. I wish I was apart of them (in a sense). There are bonds my parent's families have that my family doesn't have. So, I'd hoped to connect. But can we ever replace what doesn't exist in the past? Not really. But in some strange way, I feel closer. There are stories of tragedy and triumph. There are things I've learned from my ancestors to avoid... like alcohol and drugs. There are things I've learned to do... put family first and simply be happy with the lot you have in life. All of these lessons I plan to take home with me and put into practice in my husband and children's life. I'll never have the closeness that I long for with the family I was born into. But my children can have those connects in the family I've helped create.
For everyone, there reasons for genealogy are vastly different. However, the lessons one can learn can greatly impact our personal lives right now. As sappy as it sounds, I know understand all the emotions that are shown on Who Do You Think You Are? and the Genealogy Project. I had no idea that the journey would mean more to me than simply finding documents and headstones. I hope that I can use these lessons to be the kind of person my Heavenly Father knows I can be.
This is the FINAL installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.