Monday, December 6, 2010

Indexing and Goldie

I sort of feel like crying right now. I'm not sure why. Our stake has really been pushing doing indexing. (Click there if you don't know what that is). They've encouraged it for a long time, and I knew I should do it clear last year when my brother Chris called to tell me he'd just indexed a Kentucky mining family who had two daughters -- Daisy and Goldie. I recently registered and downloaded the software (program?) -- no easy feet for me. I've been trying to spend a little bit of my afternoon free time (the time during Penny and Jesse's naps) doing it. For some reason it often makes me feel emotional. I feel a little badly because my mom is a huge genealogist. Before the advent of Internet, etc. she would spend any free time she got at the genealogy library. We even owned our own microfilm reader for crying out! But none of that ever inspired me with any interest in genealogy myself. In fact, maybe the opposite as we loved to tease her about her passion for it. Often when she would begin to tell me little tidbits of information about this or that person, I wouldn't have much time or interest in listening. And yet, as I've started this indexing, I find myself telling Mike far more miniscule details than the fascinating things she was telling me. I get very overwhelmed by such little things as I do this. I've been indexing some naval enlistment records this last week. I'll start to cry when someone is only 15; I'll feel fascinated by noticing two enlistments right in a row with the same last name, two or three years apart in age, both from the same town, and I'll picture these two brothers standing in line -- enlisting in the navy together and wonder how it came to be. I'll feel emotional reading that someone was a tailor or a musician. Today I nearly started to cry because the person whose draft card I was doing shared my same birthday (well, minus 103 years). It is just strange to be typing down names for these people as they were written 100 plus years ago -- to picture them giving their information, to imagine the person who was recording it looking at them as he recorded their "complexion" as "ruddy" or "fair" or "dark," etc. and jotted down things like "scar above left eyebrow." I don't know why it keeps making me want to cry. I think it is because I can just picture these people almost like I'm watching a movie -- there they were, standing in line, as real as me sitting here, giving their name and date of birth and getting ready for whatever experiences would be coming as a result of this enlistment; and now, they are gone. Years gone. Did they have family who worried about them heading off? Did they marry? Have kids? Live long? Die soon after the small record I just typed into a searchable database was recorded? I don't know. These aren't even my relatives and they are affecting me so much that it makes me feel ashamed for not having cared more all my growing up years as my mom was doing this very thing -- in a much less easy fashion -- for my own ancestors. I get very nervous figuring out how to do anything new. I've always been that way. (Even the first day of doing indexing -- when I wasn't sure exactly what I was doing almost had me crying with frustration); so the idea of moving beyond this simple recording to actually searching for people and figuring how to trace my own line feels far too overwhelming at present, but I am fascinated by this indexing business and glad I finally started doing it. I'm resolved to be a far more attentive daughter when it comes to learning what I can about my own family line from my mother. It is pretty easy to get started if any of you think it would be something you'd enjoy doing (if I figured it out, I'm sure anyone in the world probably can). Just click on that indexing link above to start.

Anyway, so I'd been doing that, which had me emotional anyway, and then I began looking through a few pictures. Seeing these two of Goldie -- practically glowing like a little angel -- only made me want to cry more for how much I love her tiny soul. Isn't she simply beautiful? Seeing her just starting life at the same time as I'm recording names of people who long since lived theirs, makes me wonder what things are in store for her -- makes me worry what trials, and hope for so many good things. Maybe that's why this indexing is touching me -- it makes me realize that our lives that we are so consumed with will be lived out too -- for good or bad -- and that the small things we pay so much attention to won't really have mattered. It makes me want to focus on the most important parts of living.

Alright, I need to stop all this on-the-verge-of-crying business. I better go do something practical now -- like clean the van out so all the Activity Day girls can fit in it after school today. (Speaking of -- my new calling is to help do bi-monthly activities with the 8-11 year old girls in our ward. Daisy is one of them, and they are such a darling fun group of girls. I am really really loving this calling).

5 comments:

Kelly said...

I got into indexing once (one day, one batch) I too could picture the stories and wondered what brought Germans deep into the heart of Texas and what life was like in the 20's. I need to do it again. Good job Nancy!

Anna said...

Those pictures of Goldie are so pretty!

marzee said...

Hey - Activity Days is my calling too! You'll have to share your cute lesson ideas.

Goldie is changing so much! Her face is looking more like a young girl then a baby. So strange. She is beautiful.

Indexing . . . . you're inspiring. I've felt the need to do some genealogy. In fact- our stake wanted us to do the work for four generations this year - and I've done nothing. But honestly - it seems like such a huge and impossible thing to me.

Action got an assignment this past week (which I have yet to help him with because I've been so sick) where he's supposed to share his cultural heritage - and make a poster about it. Truly - it made me angry - because - what makes them think a 1st grader who can barely read and write can research, illustrate, and detail their cultural heritage?! Yeah - they can't. So - whose homework is it really?!

The sad thing is - that I don't know my own cultural heritage well enough to say - "you can do this and this!" I'm going to have to make some phones calls and do some research for myself so I can help him. Pretty sad - and frustrating.

Nancy said...

Marz. I am with you -- the thought of figuring out real hard core geneology work (that makes it sound sketchy, doesn't it!) is way too intimidating. The lady in our stake that is in charge of indexing told us that indexing was like milk and family history work was like meat. I think she was basically saying indexing was a great place for us to start learning. Mostly she inspired me to do it by telling us that it was truly service -- service for the dead. And I felt like I was doing so little to serve outside of my tiny family that this would be a great way to do it on my time frame etc.

Oooh. But yes, Action's assignment makes me mad. While I want my kids to be challenged, etc. I want their work to be age appropriate enough that they can do it with only minimal guidance. When it is basically something for the parents to do, it frustrates me a great deal.

Perla said...

goldie is stunning. i want to index. and i want to start doing more research on jason's family again. cool calling. i bet the girls love you.

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