Sunday, March 29, 2009

What is Genealogy?

“Genealogy is more than cold dates and endless hours of research. It is more than who was born, who was married and who died. It is more than who a family was, and more than what they did or where they lived. Through the study of the names, dates, migrations, census information and DNA, the cold dates become milestones in the life of someone connected to us. The births of the past become as momentous as a birth today, the marriages, jobs, and setbacks as poignant. It is not only discovering a history but also uncovering a human journey. It allows for a grand perspective and realization that we will be the birth dates, marriage dates, and death dates of a future generation. We will be the nameless faces that stare from a faded picture. And so Genealogy becomes our future. By honoring our past we teach our children to honor theirs. When we honor the struggles and triumphs of our fathers and mothers, we honor the struggles of all families at all times in all places.”

Kathleen Brandt, Edited by John Brandt
For Wiley J. Morris Family
June 2007
In 2009 the 3rd annual Wiley J. Morris Family Reunion was held in Las Vegas, NV. Like most family reunions, the family genealogist or historian, researches the past to find the present. Cousins seem to be in abundance, and so are new friendships. The family history was presented at the first reunion in Kansas City and the second family reunion in Louisville. The emphasis was just to get to know one another, to share family stories, and explore the new connections.

By the third family reunion in Las Vegas we had familiar faces and names associated to our once unknown cousins. By then we were no longer “the people off David’s branch", or Tobe’s branch, or Sarah Adelade’s branch, we were just the Wiley J. Morris Family. There was an ease to the acceptance that the Morris family was comprised not only by the Morris surname but Cox, Carson, Howell, Ray, Thompson, Strader, Brown, Hilliard…oh the list goes on, but so does our family.

The youngest in Las Vegas was about six months old, the eldest a spry ninety-five. We ate together, laughed, and shared DNA. In Las Vegas our theme was “Where Roots Grow Deep”. It was the platform for discovering our Morris Genetics. Family stories had some betting that the Morris’s were Russian-Jews, German-Jews, American Indian (pick-a-tribe), and Irish. Oh, we had some that were hoping for African ancestry – Angolan, West Indies, or whatever Oprah was touting from her recent DNA results. But in the end, it didn’t matter that the Morris Family was R1b1 (European Population) with what appeared to have been an Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales migratory combo. We were still related – the light, the dark, the freckled, the thin, the stout, the young and the old.

We are connected by the past – our ancestors. And most of all, we are family!

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