The Genealogist

The Chosen Ones – A Genealogy Poem

The Genealogist

The Genealogist

The Chosen Ones
In each family we hear the call to find our ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live once again,
To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
To me, 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.
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.
How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?
I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documented facts.
It goes to who I am and why I do the things 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 bones 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 building a life for their family.
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us as a nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us,
That we might be born who we are.
That we might remember who they were.
So we do.
With love and care we scribe each fact of their existence,
Because we are they and they are us.
It is up to that one called in the next generation,
To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do Genealogy,
And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

Author: Della M. Cumming ca. 1943

1 reply
  1. Sandra Patton
    Sandra Patton says:

    Thank you for doing justice to this poem. I first saw it on Find A Grave. I have used it in a talk and I have given it to those who are “Chosen”. I was eighteen when I was “Chosen” and have been doing genealogy for fifty-six years.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply