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It was 30 years ago yesterday

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I'm not Robert Sutton. I'm his son, just posting on his account.

So what am I doing on his account?

I'll get to that later, but just so you know, I'm not Robert Sutton.

I remember 30 years ago yesterday, it was my fathers birthday, and his father had come to visit, you know, to help with the celebrations, and all that, and my dad took him off into the other room, with an old tape recorder, and microphone (except it might not have been that old at the time, all things being relative), and he sat him down, and tried to pump him for as much family history as he could.

I thought that was an incredibly boring way, for my dad to spend his birthday.

That was really when my dad was waking up to the concept of genealogy.

Why was he waking up to it?

I don't know, to be honest, I can't crawl inside his mind, and see what makes it tick, but I can make an educated guess to the fact that many of his elderly relatives were sadly passing away back then, and with a growing realization that where we come from is a part of who we are, he suddenly developed an understanding of the fact that genealogy could not only be an enjoyable hobby, but an educational experience as well.

It wasn't that long after that day that my fathers father, my grandfather, sadly passed away, and my dad has always said that he'd wished that he'd got interested in family history sooner, so that he could have talked to his father, and learned more from him, of his background, and his history.

That was 30 years ago yesterday.

So what am I doing on his account?

Two weeks ago yesterday my dad had a massive stroke.

He had a bleed on the left side of his brain, which paralyzed the right side of his body, and has left him without the power of speech.

So here I am, 30 years later, embarking on a similar quest to the one he'd embarked on 30 years before.

Here I am, with the clock ticking down, suddenly scrambling around, looking for answers that have always been there, but that, up till now, I've never been motivated to find.

I guess when we're younger we often don't appreciate the fragile nature of life.

We're young, we're immortal, summers last for ever, just as life itself does, and it's only when we're older, and we see reality, do we begin to reorder our priorities.

Perhaps there's a lesson for us all to learn in there.

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – "Seize the Day, trusting as little as possible in the future"

But beyond that lesson there is also another lesson to learn.

It's not enough to run around, in a blind panic, looking for answers, when it's a little to late in the day. We also have to make sure we pass on those answers that we find, so that the next generation isn't faced with quite such a blind panic.

You see genealogy is not just the study of the past.

Genealogy comes from the Greek: γενεά, genea, meaning "generation"; and λόγος, logos, meaning "knowledge", and relates to an understanding, or having a knowledge of, the generations, and of course the generations are not all behind us.

We ourselves are a generation, and our children, and our grandchildren, are future generations, and so genealogy is not just about times, and dates, and dusty manuscripts, it's about the past, the present, and the future.

It's about understanding our past, our roots, understanding where we're coming from, so we can make more sense of ourselves, and the present, and therefore use that understanding to create a better tomorrow.

Or at least that's how I see it, but then again, 30 years from now, my son might come here, and give you a different perspective.

Who knows?
 

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