Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sunday Search: Topic Of Conversation

This past week I spent a lot of time at business dinners where the topics of conversation varied pretty significantly from course to course and from meal to meal. However, there were a few subjects that came up regularly during those times around the table. The first two were, of course, the most obvious as business and the actual trade show we were attending were discussed at great length. Beyond that discourse, the primary topic that we talked about at length was genealogy.

Many of the people with whom I spent the first part of the week had at least a basic knowledge of their own family histories or were interested in pursuing that knowledge. Because of the neutral nature of the discourse, we went from moment to moment and from generation to generation of predominantly United States history with each subject and time period allowing us to learn a little more about each other while remaining appropriate for a business gathering. I guess you could say that this is one of the ancillary benefits to the work that I have done regarding my family history.

It was actually quite surprising the commonalities that many of us possessed in both geography and in the participation of our ancestors in particular events. There wasn’t a single statement that wasn’t followed up by either a story or a question. And this was going both ways as there were definitely some aspects of history of which my knowledge is limited or a local history of which I am completely unfamiliar. In the end, we all came away with a much broader sense of the reach and inter-connectivity that our histories have in relation to one another. And that was just the people that knew at least a little about their own ancestry.

For those who were still unfamiliar with their familial past, it was an eye opening experience that ignited a desire to know about their own families. Hopefully the basic outline that they were given is enough to keep that interest going and that they begin to fill in some of their own trees. After all, it would be great to learn a little bit about their families the next time that we are all together around the dinner table. Who knows, maybe we will find some stronger historical ties between our ancestors. And maybe they can use that new found knowledge, as many of us have, as a great topic of conversation during casual business meetings and, more importantly, with their own families.