I started a family tree on Ancestry a while ago, just because I find that sort of thing mildly interesting (but only mildly). It’s interesting that I know much more about the family on mum’s side of the family, helped by a distant relative doing a detailed (if flawed) genealogy book a few years ago. On that side I can trace the family back to when they emigrated to Australia from the UK.
Dad’s side of the family is a bit vague. I’d quite like to explore it, but I don’t really know where to start. I’ve only got information going back to my grandparents, which isn’t very far. Websites like Ancestry are very Western-centric, so they haven’t been any help. It’s all kind of shrouded in mystery and feels a bit Joy Luck Club-ish.
This is what my immediate family looks like:
I live with my mum. My brother lives in Sydney. My dad, his wife and my half-siblings live in Malaysia. I have extended family in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the UK.
Looking at a family tree can be a bit of a weird experience. Each little box has its own story, and the person named in that box is the protagonist of that story. But looking at them all mapped out, they’re just reduced to names and dates. I feel a bit sad (no, sad is too strong…melancholy?) that there aren’t any extra lines sprouting off from my name, starting a new generation, but I guess that’s just how it is – and my life is certainly much more than that little box!
I think that’s why I find the genealogies in the Bible interesting (even though they’re the bane of every person who has to read the Bible aloud in church). Each person named is a link in a chain leading through the family of God to Jesus – and on to those of us who believe, I guess. Being part of a wide spiritual family with eternal roots is great comfort when I think about our messy earthly families and the fact that I may never be able to add to my biological family. Sometimes I also think of the ways it is possible to influence and mess up a child and I am glad I don’t have to worry about that!