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My Story

Why I share my family history?

If you do not know how or why you came to be a settler in North America (or other colonized places), you are left simply identifying with some historical actor in the canon, or even worse, not even feeling worthy of a place in history. Knowing our settler stories helps us to understand that people, relationships, families, and communities, are much more complicated than the stories in high school textbooks—and usually much more exciting, too.

Individual humans rarely act with motives and goals identical to those of their national leaders. Your ancestors lived at the intersection of large historical forces and their own individual needs, hopes, and dreams. And they didn’t always have a wide range of choices.

When you approach genealogical research with the purpose of understanding how your family brings life to larger stories, you become part of the larger narrative and see yourself as a historical actor whose actions matter. Reconciliation with our own pasts makes us all better able to participate with current efforts at reconciliation at national levels.

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