Family History Alphabet: Tantalising T


My theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. We’re tearing towards the alphabet’s end. Today we focus on the tantalising letter T.

T is for TENACIOUS: You’ll need to be persistent to track down all the clues you can about your ancestral families.

T is for TEARS:  You’re bound to shed your share of these in the course of this adventure. You’ll read about the loss of infant children, the early death of spouses, death in childbirth, the loss of limbs and life, the loss of farms and property.  With each tear your respect for your ancestors will grow.

There’ll be other tears too as you learn of photos or precious documents that have been lost in fires, cyclones or even wilfully destroyed because….why…the reasons never seem good enough to me.

T is for TEACHING: Connected to last week’s sharing attribute, this is an opportunity to share your skills with your fellow genies, via blogs, classes, presentations or informal conversation. You may know more about technology and be able to swap your expertise with more experienced genies, or vice versa.

T is for TALKING:  You’ll do a good bit of this too, as you “bash the ears” of anyone willing, or even semi-willing, to learn about your family history. Not to mention those relatives who might be able to tell you tales of the family and provide clues or photographs. The complementary skill is, of course, listening, or it will all be for naught.

T is for TERRIFIED: You may be braver than me, but I find it quite terrifying to cold-call people who may/may not be relatives to gain more information. 99% of the time I’ve found that while they may be initially suspicious (we’re all humbugged by too many marketing calls), they’ll mostly be happy to help, and some will be downright keen. Of course you may also connect with the frosty ex-spouse of who you’re searching for, but they’re the hazards.

T is for THRIFTY: Definitely a useful attribute for family historians because despite popular belief it’s not all free, and it’s not all on the internet. Nor should we expect people to do research for us without some recompense.  Perhaps I should be following the Thrifty Thursday prompts so I can lift my game against this attribute.

T is for NOT thieving: Sounds a bit harsh so let’s call it pinching, borrowing, appropriating, whatever. A rose by any other name….it’s poor research to take someone else’s work without acknowledgement, no matter whether it’s specifically covered by copyright legislation.

T is for THRILLED: You know, those happy dance moments when you find that tiny little snippet of information about an ancestor. It doesn’t have to be a monumental discovery, we’re happy with whatever the research fates send us, remembering the harder we work, the luckier we’ll get.

T is for THANKFUL: Most especially thankful for all those who came before us and who have made us who we are.  Thankful that they persevered through famine, fire, drought, flood and challenging migrations so their families could have a better life.

Thankful also for the support and encouragement that we gain from our peers and the learning opportunities offered to us by more experienced researchers. We’re just so fortunate.

Do you have any other T attributes to add to our list? Which do you think is most important to you as a researcher?

Images from Microsoft Office Clipart

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18 thoughts on “Family History Alphabet: Tantalising T

  1. I think you are getting better and better with each passing letter. I am going to an aunt’s 90th birthday party next week. I will see many cousins and hopefully scan some photos and talk to two of my aunts. I am THRILLED!

    • I hope the visit goes well and you get lots of stories and memories-new and old. I’m glad it’s going to be a thrilling time Kristin! Sounds like your aunt will celebrate her 90th to good effect.

  2. A Truly wonderful bunch of “T’s” Pauleen and each I relate to Totally! Trying to pick one which stands out has to be “Tears” … is why, on my Family Tree, I always place a small red rose against the name of a child who died before their time… in comfort of their mother and also me.
    (not) Thieving is crucial and I’m also SO SO SO Thankful to those of my Ancestors who had the courage to leave their loved ones, and forge a new life for themselves and their descendants, in this strange, wide, brown, open, harsh and often unforgiving land of Australia. Thanks.

      • Oh Susan… thankyou. I guess that having my own babe die young and family stories of other grieving mums, even one taking her own life, has made me super-sensitive.
        Every time I discover another little dead babe/ child in my family tree I place the red rose there which honours them, comforts their mum and calms/quietens my constantly grieving heart. You might like to read my Blog post, “Tiny Red Roses”. The shortlink is: http://wp.me/p2adWw-6Z

  3. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet - T is for ... | Genealogy & History News

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