But They REAL people. Bittersweet to the NEW Ancestry

First of all, How much do we love the NEW Ancestry.com? Expect a post on that soon enough. Because if you read any of my posts, you know that I’m not a huge fan of buying in to the simplicity of online research these days… and that’s because I’m OLD SKOOL, 100%. I still use PAF, I still source by my own means, and not by Ancestry doing it for me; I still watermark my photos and give credit to all photos I receive from others. I am old skool. The NEW Ancestry is just making it easier and easier.

Tonight I finally enabled it.

Which meant that all my LIVING people were suddenly visible on my tree. I can note a few things about that:

  • I shouldn’t have uploaded them in the first place
  • I did make sure that they have ALWAYS been hidden
  • And I re-read all the new terms that they are STILL hidden

Let me say that again, Living people are now visible on your tree, IF you’d uploaded them, but only to you.

But this was new for me.

And, of course, Ancestry has beefed up it’s Directories and certain Vital stats, so now people born in the 1980s have “Hints” and bonafide docs to attach.


Which means I found the death certificate for my cousin who died at 17 in 2003. And the certificate (and So many other records) for his father who died in 1995.

Real. Life. People in MY LIFE. Not 100yrs ago. Like, yesterday to me. And I have records for them now. Just like these people of my past, whom I don’t know except for their vital stats, except, that I knew these. I loved these. They were…. my family.

What a weird twist on the brain.

I am a Lover of Genealogy and History because it brings history to life. It forces you to think that these are NOT just names on a page, even if that’s all we have: basic vital stats and hopefully a few land records to prove that they owned or did something. But that’s all life proof offers after you’ve died: vital stats on a page.

Except, when you see stats for people who were more, who were 17 and were WAY too young to die. It’s hard to find my cousin’s death certificate. He’s just a child who died.
But for me, he’s an idiot kid who was having a ball with his buddies, riding a skateboard without a helmet and fell and died nearly instantly. He is more  than his vital stat.

It’s cyclical.

And it’s bittersweet.

I found his father’s Veteran’s record from Vietnam. We didn’t know that about my cousin’s father. We knew that my Aunt loved him; married him, had two children and a horrible marriage which was ultimately ended. And he, too, died way too young, leaving two adolescent children (one of those children who died 4yrs later from Stupid Skateboard).

But tonight I discovered he was a Vietnam Vet. And shared with my family  who did not know that. It doesn’t change Aunt-Marriage-Yuck-Death.

BUT, it’s an element of the story we didn’t have.

So, I thank Ancestry for beefing up their records. I don’t need my LIVING people on my screen – and I hope, I sincerely hope you are protecting them from others, when I was an idiot for uploading them (and I am a relatively smart person… so I’m more asking for people who DON”T KNOW and might blindly just upload). I don’t need my Right Now cousin’s marriage certificates in 2005. But hey, it’s there. Ok, why not. I don’t need my parents’ divorce certificate, but again, it’s there… I’ll take it.

Suddenly having my LIVING people on the screen and “hints” about them… it’s been bittersweet. There have been a few good stories. Mostly, just sad though. Finding death certificates for people that aren’t just Vital Stats to me… they were my Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents and Cousins. They are Still real humans to me.

And I know that all of my ancestry should feel that way. But whatever, I know I’m not alone in this thought. It’s just weird. 


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