The “Jealous” Genealogist

jealousyI am very thankful for all of the Ancestors that I have been blessed to come to know because of Genealogy. 90% of them were unknown to me a mere 15 years ago. The other 10% were just distant acquaintances. I have spent untold hours researching their lives, writing their stories and bringing them back to life.

Now it is confession time. Hello, my name is Valerie and I am a “Jealous Genealogist”. I don’t want to be, I hate that I feel that way and I sometimes question why I am like this. I honestly am excited when others find that Ancestor they have been looking for over many years. I have even cried tears of joy when a friend broke through a solid brick wall and added dozens of Ancestors to her tree. But, in the back of my heart the jealousy creeps in.

Today I was absolutely shocked that not only did that old “Green eyed” monster present itself once again, but it did so in a ella barnett picvery inconvenient place. In Church! I know …I am ashamed; it just snuck up on me. Let me explain. During the service a woman named Ella sang a song. She and I had talked a few weeks before and I discovered that she was a Creek Indian. I was so thrilled to meet another Creek because the tradition in my family is that my maternal great Grandfather was a Creek Indian. Before she began Ella gave a little background about the song she was going to perform in her Native Creek language. It was one that her 5 times great Grandmother had sung while walking the Trail of Tears from Georgia to Oklahoma back in 1836. She explained that the dress she was wearing was one her 5x great Grandmother would have worn and she showed us her bare feet and told us that when the soldiers came to force them to begin the long walk her 5x great Grandmother had Trail of Tearsbeen without shoes and the soldiers would not let her go get them. Ella spoke with such love and respect for her Ancestors that when she started to sing I began to cry. Although I was trying to fight back the tears I lost that battle and soon my entire face was wet from wiping away the flood of water coming from my eyes. Although I did not understand one word she sang it was extremely moving.

Then it happened, the envy that Ella knew all of this about her Ancestors, not from countless hours of research but from her family passing down their stories, and it began to grip my heart. She had heard these accounts directly from her great Grandmother who had heard them directly from her own great Grandmother. I felt like the lowest of the low because I was so jealous.

We all have those brick walls that we are desperate to break through. Some of us have spent years and tremendous amounts of money on documents and research trips trying to find that one little nugget that will remove the first brick of the wall. I think, no I know that jealousy is a natural, normal human emotion that we all feel at one time or another. So I am going to stop being jealous over others success in finding their “nuggets”. Oh who am I kidding? I know I will probably continue to get jealous when someone acquires that old family diary, or when they discover the photo of their 3x great Grandparents.

I will however continue to be happy for them as well and I will be thankful for each and every discovery that I make on my hope 2own tree. Hearing about other people’s successes in their research gives me hope that one day, hopefully sooner than later, I will finally break through all of my unmovable walls. Until then just remember, when you share the great news of your fantastic discoveries there is at least one “Jealous Genealogist” out there who is turning green with envy!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

14 thoughts on “The “Jealous” Genealogist

  1. I too am a jealous genealogist. I am so excited for anyone that finds something awesome from their family history but then I get sad and jealous because I wonder why I can’t find such cool things about my own family. There was a major fire before I was born and all our family heirlooms were burnt up. It is my sincerest hope that somewhere out there is another person with information on my family, some photos or physical memorabilia that they would share with me. The only other time I get jealous is when someone connects to a distant cousin. Though I have scoured the message boards, posted many messages myself, and tried to connect to people on Ancestry that elusive distant cousin still has not come forward to share their information or offer to collaborate on our shared lineage. I too will be happy for those who have these wonderful experiences but there will always be that niggling green-eyed monster trying to come out.

    1. Barbara,

      Thank you for reading the Blog and sharing your story. That is horrible that all those items were lost. Just keep hopeful and maybe one day you will be pleasantly surprised. And when you do find that distant cousin I promise I will be jealous of you!


  2. What a powerful post. A very tenuous, fragile relationship between so few people today with the Creek (and other tribes and nations) past. I hope Ella realizes how fortunate she is and helps teach others.

    1. Ella is very proud of her heritage. She brings her grandchildren to church and I have heard her speak Creek to them and they respond in Creek so I am sure she is passing it on. I hope to learn from her also, just in case I can confirm my Creek heritage.

      Thank you for reading the blog.


  3. You have put into words my own thoughts and feelings, and you’ve done it, brilliantly! Like you,I am truly happy for each and every person who knows or uncovers their family stories. I’m confident that that I’ve done well in my research, but I can’t help but to wish my family had left more of a footprint for me to follow.
    Thanks for sharing this.


  4. I really love your posts, and this post especially was very, very good. When genealogy is your passion, like it is mine you can’t help but get emotional and even at times a little jealous of people’s successes.
    My jealousy is because unlike a lot of people I have difficulty sharing my passion with family who have no interest in genealogy. But I’m very thankful for all the wonderful people on WordPress who do, 🙂

    1. Stephen,

      I am so glad you enjoyed the post! Sometimes it is hard to admit jealousy but I know everyone feels it at sometime in their lives.

      I too have no one to really share my passion for Genealogy with. I get those glassy-eyed looks from my family when I start talking.

      Thanks for reading my blogs!


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