So let's step it up a little this morning with a confession. I sweat every morning with 4 (count them!) 4 boys. Two of them have four legs, Hampton and Rock. The other two are Kelly Nash and Jonathan Rush, WCOS announcers who amuse me every morning with conversation and music while I run with the dogs. That wasn't so bad was it?!
WCOS is a country music station and if you studied my family tree you would see that I have a long and entrenched red-neck past. You can cry me a river about the commercialization of country music and I don't care. I love it. However, I don't usually think of a country music station as a hotspot for genealogy discussions, yet, in the last month Nash and Rush have talked on the radio about their family history research. Their stories highlight the joys and pitfalls of digging into your past.
Kelley Nash recently decided to find his birth father. This question finds its' way into the Walker Local History Room all the time. It is probably the most personal question we handle and also the most difficult. Living people are very difficult to find. Most records are sealed and other public records, like phone books, usually have an option for info to be opted out. It is really a missing person case and requires a private detective and not a genealogy query. However, in Nash's example he found through the SSDI that his father was deceased. He found an obit which lead him to Hawaii and a second family. There is his joy - he found his father.
Now for the pitfall. Be aware that you may not like the past you dig up. According to Nash he went to Hawaii to meet this second family and he wasn't thrilled with the discovery. Frankly, I laughed out loud (not an easy feat when I am running and barely able to keep my breath!) when he described his Hawaiian bikerish half brother. I'm glad Kelly could laugh about his adventures but it is an emotionally complex search. The researcher needs to be prepared for all possible outcomes.
Jonathan Rush had a different type of family history adventure that I will share in the next post...ha,ha!