In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, I started to do research into my family tree. Why now?

Could be because there’s more time to do it. But it’s probably more than that. I’ve never had the urge before.

Maybe with so much distress outside, it’s useful to look inward. Or perhaps in uncertain times, with structures in limbo, our families and their legacies provide us with comfort. If I had to psychoanalyze myself, those are possibilities.

In any case, I began searching. Sometimes, it can be tricky to find information. Spellings of names changed over time, many records are lost to history, and too many people are no longer alive to confirm details. Still, there are some great online tools. I was able to do a decent amount of detective work.

Looking at all the dates of births, marriages and deaths, and the corresponding dates in the history books, I was reminded of what past generations lived through. The events of the day, going back into the 1800s and throughout the first half the 20th century especially, were not always pleasant.

I like to write about how we communicate with each other and the messages we send. So what does that have to do with genealogy?

Our ancestors are talking to us. They’re in us. We should remember, as I’m sure those previous generations did through bad times, that better days are ahead.

For me, slotting names into a family tree, even names I had never heard before, also made me feel linked through time.

It’s important for all of us to stay connected to each other during this pandemic. And to our past always. Life goes on.

Stuart Foxman is a Toronto-based freelance writer, who helps clients’ products, services, ideas and organizations to come alive. Follow me on Twitter @StuartFoxmanconnect with me here on LinkedIn, or check me out at I would love to hear from you. More articles like this coming, with original posts every week about communications, information, motivation, writing, branding, creativity, media, marketing, persuasion, messages, learning, etc.

April 29, 2020

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