Taking the Good With the Bad

Another short and thought-provoking piece by Tom Fiske:

Thomas Fiske

Genealogy has been great fun for the past twenty-five years, tracking down the ancestors and cousins and looking up all that information. Lots of real detective work. Sometimes I waited ten years or more for one tiny bit of information. Adding those bits were a kind of crowning glory to a partial quarter-century of work. Now I know quite a bit about all my great-grand parents and a lot about their parents as well. Some lines were easier, going back into Virginia in the 1600’s. One went back into England, another into Bavaria in the 1700’s.

There’s no doubt about it: I felt pretty good about my research and wrote at least three books that involved true stories about my ancestors and other relatives. Over time, I became the family historian. It was a lofty calling.

And then my world fell apart as I entered into the record that Robert Pryor Fiske died on September 3, 2010 at 12:25 P.M. in western Kentucky.

Jim, Tom & Bob Fiske Robert was my last living brother. Our family consisted of two wonderful parents and three mean little Fiske brothers. I was the youngest, and maybe the meanest, too. As a small boy, I was afraid that I would get lost from my family, that they would leave me behind somewhere. And that is eventually what happened. They are all gone and here I am, alone – but with the hope that we can be together at least one more time.

It never occurred to me that I would be entering my brother’s name and death date into the genealogical record. However, that was my responsibility. It was a joy to enter the names of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But I sure felt horrible when I entered my brother’s name, partly for him and his family, but mostly for me.

Genealogy means you take the good with the bad.

Already I am looking for the next scribe in the family, a kid with the potential to keep the record intact. And one who will spell my name correctly.

Thomas S. Fiske
Fullerton, CA
January 25, 2011

One thought on “Taking the Good With the Bad

  1. I was touched by the sensitive way you described the very personal loss of your brother, a person with whom you not only shared DNA, but someone who was undoubtedly a childhood “partner in crime”.

    You are so right, it is often quite enjoyable to record the events of long ago. It is the ones happening now that often get put aside as irrelevant, unimportant, or as in this case, too painful to record. And yet, as the family historian, you must go on doing what you do…. recording events and sharing the records of those events and the stories that go along with them. In doing so, your brother’s life and all that it meant will not be forgotten.

    Please accept my sympathy for your loss.

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