Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seeking identity

Roger is searching for roots but it is not as easy as he thinks.


Herr Schmidt: Guten Tag. Haben Sie…

Roger: Ich heisse Roger. I am looking for my familien en kirke buken.

Herr Schmidt: Wie haben 100 Jahre buken,

Roger: I am sorry. English?

Herr Schmidt: A little. We have about thirty books from different villages containing baptism, confirmation, marriage, funeral records. What is the name, the date, the record, and the village of the ancestor you are looking for?

Roger: I don’t know the date, record or village. It was somewhere between 1750 to 1790.

Herr Schmidt: Let me show you a book. This one, two hundred pages. Finding what you look for will not be easy.

Roger: Written in Gothic, largely illegible, ink faded, pages falling out? Don’t you have this on computer?

Herr Schmidt: This is a church office. These are archives, but there is no budget for digitizing them.



Roger has only a vague notion that his ancestor came from here. It might have been somewhere else. The church office records are not complete. He is wise to rethink his search. And given that the ancestor he is searching for accounts for only a thirty-second or a sixty-fourth part of his genes, he may be wise to give up hoping that ancestor-hunting will produce his identity. He would do better to think about who he really is.


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