Value in the Everyday

I have been wanting to put a website together for a while now, and I finally sat down and got it done. It is amazing how all of the little responsibilities in my day to day life get in the way of these passion projects of mine! Baby steps…

I began working on my family tree this past summer. I’m a stranger to genealogy, but no stranger to research in the archive. One of the commitments in my professional work over the years has been bringing attention to visual cultural objects that people deem unimportant–postcards, advertisements, newspaper collages, scrapbooks, etc. By researching these little known objects, I always feel like I gain a better understanding about the culture of the time, their values, and their investments. After all, we learn more about ideology through the mundane and everyday. I feel the same way about building my family tree. To the general public, my ancestors are probably not “important.” They were not the inventors of great things and you won’t find their names in history textbooks. They immigrated, they worked, they fought and died in wars, and they were part of local communities that have since faded into memory. But by investigating their stories, I feel like we can catch a glimpse into a time before we remember. Some of the experiences are alien, but I’m often shocked at the commonalities between then and now.

So it comes down to my purpose here. I wanted to use this space to record some of my random ramblings about my ancestors. But I also want to demystify the research process for those like me who are just starting on this journey. Piece by piece I hope to construct a resource of sorts, but I’ll save the big ideas for later.