Saturday, June 9, 2012

Skeletons Not In The Closet

A skeleton carries the concept of something buried or hidden a long time ago that was intended to remain buried. As genealogists, we often discuss "skeletons in the closet" as a family secret uncovered during our own family tree climbing.  It may or may not be something that we are glad we uncovered.

A skeleton is also the bony, rigid support that serves as a framework to help hold us together. [At least that is while we are alive.]  More or less it is the support to soft tissues and the protection to certain parts of the essential part of the motion's of life.

Over the years, I have found that defining a "skeleton" of our ancestor's land gives a foundation to the family tree climbing.  It may be a county, stream, land mass, or even country.  Sketching the outline without any landmarks or names, will define a "skeleton" of the family's origin that may help us understand our ancestor's own motion through time. [And generations!]

The drawing above is an outline of my ancestor's land...a skeleton if you will.  It is not labeled at first, but will provide a support for all the names and areas yet to be discovered.  Drawn to scale, it can be used to estimate distance, which can be used to understand time between settlements or towns.  Names may change, and certain identities, but the skeleton will generally remain the same.  Make multiple copies of this skeleton so that you can add new names and identities as they are discovered.  Theses skeletons need not be put in the closet.

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