Friday, May 11, 2007

The Genealogy "Time Tunnel"

Wouldn't you love to go back in time to witness the history of the world, see how your ancestors lived (and perhaps find out who their parents were), or even revisit your early childhood. All from a viewpoint, not actually in the action yourself, of course, because we can't change the course of history - large or small.

I ran across a link today to "Time Tunnel," a science fiction series on ABC TV From 1966-1967 - see I don't recall watching this series, but I wish I had.

A "Genealogy Time Tunnel" TV series, or articles or books, would be really great. I guess that's why I like the James Michener, Edward Rutherford, Jeff Shaara and other historical novels - they put you into the action at discreet moments in time with human actors - real or fictional.

In our family history and genealogy research, we capture "moments in time" but rarely do most of us fit our ancestors into the history and events of their day. We are lucky to find a birth record, a marriage record, some census records, a military record, some deeds, a probate record, a death notice, an obituary and a gravestone for some of our ancestors, and not all of those before 1900.

What would I like to see in my own "Genealogy Time Tunnel" article or video?

1) Watching Elizabeth Horton Dill interact with her family - especially seeing who her parents and siblings were.

2) Living in the Joseph Richards house in Southboro MA in 1756-7 to see who really fathered Isaac Buck (1757-1846) by Mary Richards? Was it Isaac Buck I or II? Was there an Isaac Buck II?

3) Experiencing Isaac Buck III's Revolutionary War service as a matross - from Ticonderoga to Dorchester Heights, especially.

4) Witnessing the wedding of Burgess Metcalf and Jerusha --?-- in Piermont NH in about 1775. Hopefully, her parents attended.

5) Following the Samuel Vaux family as they emigrated from England in the 1830's, settling in Aurora NY in the 1840's, moving on to Dodge County WI in the 1850's, to Andrew County MO in the 1960's and to Pottawatomie County KS in the 1870's. Oh, I hope I figure out where and when they died!

6) Attending the playhouse performances in Wano, Cheyenne County, KS in 1885-1887, where my great-grandparents Austin Carringer and Della Smith met and became a married couple.

Obviously, I could go on and on - there are so many mysteries in our ancestors lives - why did they do what they did? when? how? I want to know more about them - to understand them, to honor them, to appreciate their struggles and achievements in producing ME!

How about you? What events in your ancestor's lives would you like to witness in a "genealogy time tunnel?" Notice that I didn't use the word "voyeur" here, although that was my first inclination! Tell us about it - either in comments here or on your own blog. Or perhaps this could be a topic for a "Carnival of Genealogy" down the road.

UPDATE 5/14, 9 AM: JMKGenealogy Gifts has a neat T-shirt design that says "Genealogy - Build Your Own Time Tunnel." Excellent!


Anonymous said...

I wish I had asked my Grandfather about his youth, his father and mother, and the years he spent in an orphanage. To keep history from repeating itself, I fill my grandkids heads with all sorts of family facts. Hopefully one of them is listening

Anonymous said...

I include this time travel thought on my cemetery tour for 3rd graders. I mostly want to go back to answer a few mysteries about my home town's history, since records are so sparse. For example, what happened to Fred Sayre's cemetery records? Who is buried in potter's field? What about my old buddy, Tillotson Neaves? Did he come to Rifle because he had relatives here? Why can't I find him anywhere? Was Otto Godfretsen really the one who wounded Kid Curry after the Parachute train robbery, but his claim to fame was lost because he was gunned down just 6 weeks later? Or did that Grand Junction sheriff wound him? And where did my great-grandmother Mary Crook go after she lost her children? Did she remarry, have more kids, and somehow adjust to the loss? Do I have half-cousins somewhere? This is a great carnival of genealogy topic. (And I loved the Time Tunnel, which I watched faithfully back in '66 because I was a kid and it was science fiction--oh, yeah, and because James Darren was cute. It's on my Amazon wish list).

questors said...


I've had fantasies about this for years. I would attend weddings (to see who the parents of the bride and groom are), hang out at the poor house to interview the mother about what lead her to leave her children there, visit Ellis Island to ask people why they came, and follow migrants across the country.

The Time Tunnel series is available at Netflix and Amazon.