Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Are We?

This morning I was preparing a post for the Sentimental Sunday prompt over at GeneaBloggers. All at once an interesting question popped into my head.

Are family historians more sentimental than the general population? Are we? Am I?

To answer this question we need to find the exact meaning of the word. I proceeded to search Merriam-Webster website and found interesting results.

    a : marked or governed by feeling, sensibility, or emotional idealism
    b : resulting from feeling rather than reason or thought <a sentimental attachment > <a sentimental favorite>


*He has a sentimental attachment to his old high school

What would you say about traveling hundreds of miles to visit an ancestral home or graveyard? I remember the feeling of instant connection when seeing my great-grandparents home. Also, the sense of comfort when strolling along the path in any cemetery. Does this make me sentimental or slightly crazy?

*She saved her wedding gown for sentimental reasons

Do we really need to talk about saving items of sentimental value? Cabinets, plastic containers, notebooks, bookcases and trunks full of things someone just MIGHT want someday. Taking inventory of our home you would discover most of what I own can be traced to an ancestor. Pack rat or sentimental lady?

*He has sentimental ideas about the past

Guilty! Most of our time as family historians is spent in the past. Meeting and connecting to people who have long since departed this life. Many times we are drawn into their world and may even have a somewhat romanticized view. No doubt many of our ancestors lives were difficult and filled with hardships. Even so, would we not love to time-travel back for one day and spend time walking in their lives? Oops, think I crossed from sentimental to sci-fi wacky!

*I tend to get very sentimental when I think of my childhood

Not necessarily my childhood but that of my parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents and so forth. I can spend hours reading about the early life of any ancestor. Discovering where they went to school, what occupation they chose and how events shaped their lives. You have to give me a resounding sentimental on this one!

From the answers it looks like I am indeed very sentimental. That is a large part of being the family historian. Without the ingrained desire to preserve memories and heirlooms much of our family history would disappear.

Thank goodness along with being curious and tenacious we are extremely sentimental.

Been a sort of chicken/egg discussion happening. Are family researchers inherently sentimental or do they become so after connecting with an ancestor? What say you?


  1. As we delve into our ancestors lives they become "real" people,, just not names on a paper. We know where they were from, where they worked and the history of the towns where they lived.

    With this information we do become sentimental about them.

  2. Interesting observation.

    Are we inherently sentimental as researchers or does the sentimentality come once we connect with our ancestors?

    Sort of like the chicken and egg question.

    Could be an interesting post in itself! Thanks for the comment.

  3. Honestly, Deb, the way your mind works! I love it!

    Speaking for myself, I become sentimental about almost anything that matters to me in some way. Hence the pack rat state of my home.

    It is a chicken-egg thing, but I think the family historians have a different view and appreciation of life to begin with; that's why they become the legend-keepers.

  4. What a beautifully worded post. To answer your chicken-egg question, as for me I am only sentimental about the things I love. The more I find out about my deceased relatives, the more I love them, and the more sentimental I become about them. I don't think I was particularly sentimental before I started collecting my dead relatives, or perhaps I just didn't have as much to be sentimental about. Hmmm...more chicken-egg?

  5. I've never considered myself as being inherently sentimental, but when reading this post, I need to reevaluate my ISTJ personality results. I not only get attached to my own family, but I have an attachment to the ancestor's of my clients. The more I delve in the lives of ancestor's the more their significance is illuminated. Then, I just want to chase that light to the end. Yeah...I'm sentimental! Who am I fooling?

  6. Love the post.I plead guilty. Which reminds me I have a post to make. :-)

  7. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I think those of us that are sentimental get even more so when we delve into our ancestors lives. It makes us feel whole, and connected to something bigger than ourselves. Love this post.