There is a story behind each name we discover, each date we enter into our genealogy databases. As new genealogists, most of us began simply seeking those names and dates; however, as we grow in our research and learn the value of reverse genealogy (working forward to assist in find out more about the past), many of us find ourselves seeking our living relatives. When we are able to connect with cousins or others who may be researching our same family lines, our research can expand exponentially, and most importantly, we can begin to learn the stories of those who lived before us.
Earlier this week I received a large envelope full of photographs sent by my grandmother’s fifth cousin, Madge Pedersen. I “met” Madge online after doing a Google search for others descended from Thomas and Margaret (Davis) Wasgatt, and we’ve been corresponding for several weeks now. I was touched that she would entrust me with such old photographs, which I scanned and cataloged yesterday. Included in the envelope were obituaries, including one for Frank G. Wasgatt, shown in the photo above.
Having followed the trail of documents left by this branch of the Wasgatt family who migrated west from Maine to Minnesota, it was wonderful to see photographs of the Wasgatt boys, and of Frank, their father. There was much more to his life than simply dates of birth, marriage and death. He was a husband, a father. A coach. A star athlete. A lawyer. He was a living, breathing, vibrant person.
Yes, genealogy is about solving the puzzles of relationships, of findings names and dates, beginnings and endings. But it’s also about history, about people, and the lives they lead…and the lives they touched.