When I read this outstanding post by Katie Noah Gibson, I was excited at the possibilities. Of course, I immediately thought of mapping my family tree.
My plan is twofold: on a fundamental level, I will get a ginormous map of the world and stick tiny color-coded labels representing each direct-line ancestor.
The second stage of my plan is more complex and would probably require individual maps. It involves tracing each of those people as they moved about in their lives. I envision a criss-crossing of lines and colors which will be a visual feast of family group movement.
I’m expecting to learn so much more about my ancestors by mapping their lives. In addition, this process will no doubt inspire new discoveries, new questions, new opportunities to engage other family members in leafing out our family tree.
I’d like to know: if mapping your family tree sounds like a great idea, let me know your plan and share your progress.
Originally posted on cakes, tea and dreams:
Regular maps have few surprises; their contour lines
Reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear
On the location of Australia, and the Outer Hebrides;
Such maps abound; more precious, though,
Are the unpublished maps we make ourselves,
Of our city, our place, our daily world, our life;
Those maps of our private world
We use every day; here I was happy, in that place
I left my coat behind after a party,
That is where I met my love; I cried there once,
I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner
Once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth,
Things of that sort, our personal memories,
That make the private tapestry of our lives.
—Angus Lordie, in Love Over Scotland, Alexander McCall Smith
I’ve been working my way through the 44 Scotland Street series. So far, each entry in the series has concluded with a party at the titular address, at which Angus Lordie, eccentric portrait painter, sometime poet and owner of Cyril, the gold-toothed dog, stands up to deliver a poem.