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Who Will Tell Their Stories?

"We would have nothing if it were not for our ancestors. They broke the prairie land into
fields, dug the first wells, built the first homes, the first churches and the first
schools. They often started with little, faced great hardships, overcame many obstacles and
never gave up so that we would have a better life. Who will tell their story so they
are never forgotten?"


We keep forgetting all of those who lived before us.
We keep forgetting those who lived and worked and
prayed and sang and built long before we were born.

We commit the sin of assuming that everything begins with us.
We drink from the wells that we did not find.
We eat food from the farmlands that we did not develop.
We worship in churches that we did not organize or build.

We enjoy freedoms we have not earned.
We should be grateful for our heritage and turn our
minds in grateful appreciation to those who lived in
another day and under vastly different circumstances,
so that we can live a better life today.

- Rev. Gary R Gabel


"My feelings are that in each family there is one who seems to be called to find
ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and to make them live again, to tell their
family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing
life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All
tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes.

Those who have gone before cry out to us: "Tell our story!" So we do. In finding
them we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before and cried?
I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful
family, you would be proud of us!" How many times have I walked up to a grave and
felt somehow that there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting the facts. It goes to who I am and why I do the
things that I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds
and indifference and saying "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones
of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed
to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their
never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and to build a life for
their family.

It goes to the deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation. It
goes to the deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That
we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact
of their existence, because we are them and they are us. (For we without them
cannot be made perfect.)

So, as a scribe, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in
the next generation to answer the call and to take their place in the long line
of family story tellers.

That is why I do my family genealogy and that is what calls those young and old
to step up and put flesh on their bones."

-by Della M. Cummings Wright; re-written by her Granddaughter, Della JoAnn
McGinnis Johnson, edited and reworded by Tom Dunn.

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