31 March 2009
Once upon a time in ancient Greece, so ancient that writing had not yet been invented, and in villages too poor to support a poet, the villagers (or Analfabetos, in the Spanish account that I read) had a problem recording the doings of the great, and recalling the details of noteworthy events.
They eventually found a solution. An example: When the son of the headman took a wife, the analfabetos ensured that there was a young boy present at the wedding. Before the wedding they adorned this boy in the richest of raiment. On the day of the wedding, they made sure that this boy saw all that happened, heard all that was said, and noted everyone who spoke. They ensured that he ate only the sweetest of meats, from only the dishes of which the mighty partook.
After the wedding, they took this naive & innocent boy, they took him and threw him into a deep and violent river, where he near but drowned!
Forever after, whenever an analfabeto wanted to know what happened on the day of the grandees wedding, they would ask this boy, now an old man, about his memory of that day. They were then regaled with an account rich in detail, by this man who recalled all of the events of that day decades earlier, in which he had near lost his life.
We are confronted with a similar problem. We have searched the written record that we could find, and now there is no more written record to search. How will we find those details for which we desperately seek? For most of us, our only hope is by finding someone with similar ancestry, co-ancestry, who might be able to act as a gateway for us to a shared past.
How to find this person? Joining FTDNA for genetic testing is one way. Making gedcoms (software files with ancestry details) and placing them on the nets is another. Many people troll these web sites with keyword searches, looking for that one particular name. I have had good luck with genesreunited.co.uk.In both of these methods, you've got to put up enough information to "hook that fish", and create enough interest in them, that they will make the effort to contact you. And after contact is made, happy day! please follow through and share more information!
For one reason or another, no records were left by your ancestor for his birth, marriage or death.
But just maybe, just maybe on the day of his marriage, there was this boy...