One of my first loves while in school was History and Geography. While I may not be able to tell you what country is which right now, I have a general idea of where places are located and it’s history. The History Channel was also a favorite for me and my siblings to watch after school. You’re probably wondering why, and it’s simple really, my parents always encouraged us to keep learning about new things and understanding everything around us.
When I was in High School and we started going to church (LDS), one of our activities for Young Women was to complete a family tree chart (pedigree chart). I knew who my parents and grandparents are, but finding out my great grandparents names involved having to ask questions. My Mum of course knew some things but not all, then we would have to ask our grandparents. At that stage we only filled in our chart up to our great grandparents, because it was easy and nobody wants to look up anything further than that. You know do the bare minimum to get by so you can move on to something else.
Over the years I kept up with my family tree, kept track of different names and where they were from. This is where history and geography came into play. Between 2007 – 2009 I was able to collect various names through Facebook, weddings, and funerals (Fa’alavelave’s).
History is such a fun topic because it’s also a story. In relation to Genealogy those are stories of how you got to where you are. A soldier running away because he beat up his commanding officer in Denmark, decided an adventure in Samoa was more exciting than life in Wisconsin. English Businessmen who wanted something different than what New Zealand and Australia could give. Soldiers who fell in love with the local women. These are my stories, of my ancestors who made a decision.
I love to discover those stories if only because their funny, dramatic, heartbreaking and sometimes humbling. My grandmothers are probably my biggest role models. Family is everything and Polynesian Women are raised to always think of ways to help their families. Grandma Betty remembers having to work and provide for her children, even though she wasn’t near them for months at a time. Grandma Martha may have been a homemaker, but she always found a way to help her parents in Pago and make sure her family was in good hands.
These stories and those that you find by looking at the facts are probably the best out of any book. Because those are my stories and they are true, not a fairytale, not some convoluted happy ending like Into the Woods. It’s life and it’s something we can learn from as well.
The only thing I can suggest for anyone interested is to ask questions now. Write down the answers or record them and save them. These stories could help someone or just explain different things in a hometown.