Real World vs Ideal World

by Mike Peters

When I was younger, my mother taught me the differences between the real world and the ideal world.  We lived in the real while striving for the ideal.  She taught me that fair was a concept that always existed in the ideal world and that life in the real world was often anything but fair.

This afternoon I thought about the ideal genealogical world and what it would be like to live in a world full of documentation.

This world would contain a complete 1890 Census.

Censuses prior to 1850 would list every member of the household by correct name, exact age and proper relationship to HOH.

Every grave would have a stone with legible engravings.  The cemeteries would be well kept and would never become overgrown.

There would be complete records available re the ancestors of American Indians.

Everyone would be proud of their heritage whether they descend from a President or a horse thief.

Every mother and father would leave a will that lists all of their children.

Every person would have an obit.

Old documents would be easy to read.

All documents would be typewritten.

All records would be fireproof.

Transcriptions would contain no errors.

Nicknames would not be allowed on legal documents.

The census taker would always be dependable and thorough. They would always ask for clarification.

No one would lie about their age.

The birth certificate of every illegitimate child would list a father.

Fathers and sons would be differentiated by a Jr. or Sr. following their names.

Oral legend would be accurate.  Nothing would be hidden or exaggerated.

Every family would have a Bible jammed full of reliable genealogical information.

All pictures would come with names and dates on the back.

It would be nice to live in the ideal world for a little while, if just to knock down a couple of our genealogical brick walls. But would we enjoy this game of "hide 'n seek" as much, if everything came so easy.  I don't think so.

Most of the adrenaline rush associated with this addiction comes courtesy of the hunt itself.  We thrive on the debate and live for the interrogation.  Along the way, we meet new friends and cousins, hunters of the same game, who accompany us on our quest.

Maybe we'll never bag our limit in the real world.  Maybe that's not what the game of genealogy is all about.  Maybe it's all about who plays the game with you.  If that's the case, I'm sure glad I reside in the real world.

Thanks for listening and as my Grandma Coleman used to say, "Ya'll come!"


Mike Peters

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