Dreaming about genealogy
June 25, 2008
Last night I had a dream about genealogy. In this dream I learned that my great-grandfather was actually adopted. I never heard this before, and was anxious to research it further. He told me who his biological father was. I was excited to know the real name.
Somehow I knew that I was dreaming, and so I repeated the name over and over and over so when I woke up, I would remember it so I could further research it. I don't usually wake up in the middle of the night, but last night I did - several times. I'd wake up, repeat the biological father's name in my head several times, then go back to sleep.
Now that I'm awake and writing this article, I have no idea what the name was....My senses have also returned to me, and I know that he was not adopted. But what if he really was....
I also have a recurring dream of a family bible that I know contains the answers I've been searching for. As I bring the bible closer to my eyes so I can read the information on the "Births" page, all of the text goes blurry and I cannot read a thing. Oh how frustrating these dreams can be.
The solution. It is usually in the middle of the night when I am laying in bed thinking about how to solve a genealogy problem that an idea comes to me. Sometimes even in dreams. To ensure that you do not forget these potentially "inspired" ideas, make sure that your laptop is always on your nightstand, turned on, with Legacy's To Do List open. Simply create a new To Do task, enter the "inspired" information, click Save, and go back to sleep. You'll never forget that great idea when you wake up!
Does this only happen to me?
No... I dream about lots of things like that... like what it's like to live in my old ancestors times. Sometimes the mind can come up with images of what we need to inspire us to move forward.
I think it's God's way of telling us look here next or what I like to call the "devine perhaps maybes".
Posted by: Allen Prunty | June 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM
Uh, don't you think a running laptop is overkill? I've kept a pad and pencil next to my bed since I was a kid for *anything* I dream/think of during sleep. Uses a lot less electricity, too.
Posted by: King | June 25, 2008 at 12:59 PM
I have a small voice recorder that I keep near my bed. I bought it specially for inspired thoughts of any kind, the ones that seem more brilliant in the dark when there's nothing to do except think. It's also very good for dreams. Even in the dark I can fumble to find it and feel where the Record button is. If I had to get up to sit at a laptop, there's not a chance in Hades.
Posted by: JL Beeken | June 25, 2008 at 01:17 PM
A humorous cartoon I read said those who research genealogy do it at first out of curiosity, then it becomes a hobby, which turns into an obsession, eventually becoming a sickness. Do you recognize yourself? I'm at the last stage...
Posted by: Paul Croteau | June 26, 2008 at 05:38 AM
Three points in your post on "GenDreams" (one of the many symptoms of "GenFever" which is caused by the always fatal bite of the "GenBug") jumped out at me.
* Make an immediate record. I prefer the low-carbon footprint method, on a post-it that gets slapped on my monitor until it can be transfered to the To-Do list.
* Adoption, not all adoptions involve an orphan home, marriage or re-marriage of a young new mother is a common cause of otherwise 'unknown' adoptions.
* Great GrandFather. One of my four Great Grandfathers was adopted, as an infant, when his mother re-married after the sudden death of his "real - hitherto unknown" father, seems that influenza changed the make-up of a lot of families back in those days. No living member of the family seemed to know this until his birth certificate was discovered just a few years ago - in a box of papers found at my Grandfathers house after his death. The box probably belonged to Great Grandfather and seemed to have been unopened since the 1940's. "Genealogy 101": upon researching local and nearby church and courthouse records it was discovered that Great GrandMother was married, became a widow, became a mother and was remarried all within a span of 18 months. What we believed to be her maiden name was actually her first married name. This information opened two new branches of the family tree, and we all know what that led to...
So, do not discount the dream. It never hurts to double check what you believe to be true.
Posted by: Peter Steinhoff | June 26, 2008 at 07:02 AM
Correction: In the sentence after Genealogy 101, Great Grandmother should be: Great Great Grandmother,
Posted by: Peter Steinhoff | June 26, 2008 at 07:36 AM
Henry Z Jones has a couple of books about the subject of dreams and genealogy.
Psychic Roots: Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy
More Psychic Roots: Further Adventures in Serendipity & Intuition in Genealogy
Henry Z ("Hank") Jones Jr., FASG - Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists
Humor: I get no commission on book sales.
Posted by: Jeffrey Vaillant | June 26, 2008 at 10:06 AM
I, too, have been having dreams of genealogy. In my dream, I can see a large family tree branch which I cannot read, and realizing I am dreaming, keep trying to figure out how I can transfer this tree to my computer. Shouldn't this be possible with all this new technology?
Posted by: Brenda Costello | July 02, 2008 at 09:27 PM
i'm at the last stage too, i think. some nights i can't even sleep because I can finally get some work done without the kids or my significant other distracting me.
Posted by: francesca | July 12, 2008 at 09:06 AM
It was through doing the genealogy that I found out that my grandfather, who was a policeman, was shot in the head. All we knew was that he had had a stroke. Thank you Bill.
Posted by: Cathy Fowler | July 28, 2008 at 02:59 PM