Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Genealogy Helpful in Case of Torture

From a 1985 patent for a "Basic comprehensive genealogical and family history system of straightline genealogy":

During the Korean situation, for instance, the Federal Government discovered that our men as prisoners of war who knew their family histories did not break under brainwashing conditions as did those men who did not know their family histories. A healthy knowledge of ones family history plays a part in improving stability and very possibility adding to mental health. One who feels himself to be a part of a chain develops a better sense of self-worth and purpose more easily than does a person who feels isolated and alone.


I agree with that assessment. I know I feel much more connected and have a sense of being important, a link in a chain, as a result of my own research. I also am humbled when I think about how many people had to get together at the right times in order for me to come along later. It's mind-boggling.


I'm lucky enough to have known about my heritage from an early age, having grown up in a town inhabited by my ancestors for 200 years—and having been related to half the kids in my kindergarten class. In my family, it wasn't unusual to talk about my great-grandparents at the dinner table. I can't imagine what it would be like to have no knowledge of my ancestry.

Still, I'd probably have spilled my guts before the North Koreans even asked for my name. I'm very ticklish.

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