All Saints, All Souls, Guy Fawkes Day, Remembrance Sunday, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving….November is full of remembering. Genealogy is a way to remember, a way to learn what we can of our forebears and appreciate where we have come from. There is often precious little to reflect on other than names and dates and places.
The PBS program, Finding Your Roots, is a favorite of mine. The host, Dr. Henry Gates, proposes to show that one’s family history can be more than just names, dates and places. I was amazed when I began seeing family names I recognized in a recent program. As it turns out, I am distantly related to Anderson Cooper! We share a common 5th GreatGrandfather, Solmon Boykin. Mr. Cooper’s 4th GGfather (son of Solomon) was Burwell Boykin. My 4th GGfather was James A. Boykin, a younger son of Solomon, by a second wife. Here’s how Mr. Cooper is encouraged to remember his 4th GGrandfather: Bold Act of Rebellion
I will have more to say about the details of Burwell Boykin later. Today I want to focus on remembrance.
Here is a recent NPR piece from the Six Words project that raises questions about how we reconcile remembrance of our ancestors with our modern sensibilities: Must we forget our Confederate ancestors?
How do we remember those of our family, even far past family, that offend our modern ideals? There is only one way; with forgiveness and prayer, because they were not, I suspect, all that different from us. They did what they did the only way they knew how, for their children and great-grandchildren.
Let us remember before God, and commend to his sure keeping our beloved dead, those whom we knew and whose memory we treasure. Wash them, we pray, in the Blood of the Immaculate Lamb that was slain to take away the sins of the world: that whatever defilements they may have contracted in the midst of this earthly life, being purged and done away,they may be presented pure and without spot before you; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Correspondence of Original Ideas is under new management! Sarah has ceded the blog to me, her mother. I want to continue to post Uncle Zach’s writings and share other genealogical and historical bits. I’m not nearly as clever as Sarah, but maybe I can say something interesting too. Stay tuned.