Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Finding My Ancestors As Extroverts and Introverts

I love to research and write about my ancestors. It is always in adventure to find out about them. Some of my ancestors have been easy to learn about, while many others have been elusive and difficult. Sure, I can almost always discover their names on census records with their approximate age, gender and what their occupation was on a particular date. But these type of records don't answer all of my questions.

For instance:

  • Did they enjoy their jobs?
  • Were they healthy?
  • What were their hobbies?
  • Did they have any goals?
  • Did they find life fulfilling?
  • Did they believe in God?
  • Did they love their family? 

The list could go on and on.

The reason why some of my ancestors were easy to get to know is because detailed histories with pictures have been passed down from generation to generation. But then there are those who are just a name in my database.

I have asked myself, "Why is this so?" How come, for example, my great grandfather on my mother's side is elusive, but information about my paternal grandfather has been so easy to find--after all they lived in the same county.

t has taken me a while, but I think I have finally figured it out! Some of my ancestors were introverts while others extroverts.

Extroverts are inclined to enjoy interaction with others and be enthusiastic, talkative and assertive. They are motivated and thrive being around other people. They take pleasure in activities which involve large social gatherings, such as parties, community activities, public demonstrations and business or political groups. An extroverted person is likely to find less reward in time spent alone.

This explanation helped me understand why information about an extrovert can be more easily found. Newspapers, especially those from years past reported on social gatherings and activities around the communities. These activities often produced pictures and stories and were sometimes called the gossip section. Those involved in politics always took the spotlight and their names and pictures were printed in local, state and county history books. Many church authorities are extroverts and records from churches can also generate material of historical value.

Just the opposite is true of an introverted person. He tends to be more reserved and less outspoken in groups. Introverts often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, hiking and fishing. Artists, writers, sculptors, engineers, composers and inventors are all highly introverted. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, although he or she may enjoy interactions with close friends.

Both of these types of people have great value and play a part in any community--just in different ways. But in the case of most introverts, no one seems to be around to take a picture of them in their chosen activities.

An introverted grandmother, for example, was usually never photographed doing her handwork, reading her scriptures, sewing all of the family's clothing or weeding in the furthest part of her garden. Grandma probably thought her life was boring and took no thought to write about her activities, hopes or dreams.

My father's father, Kendrick Harding Harward, for the most part, earned his living as a turkey farmer. Some might say, "That was probably pretty boring!" But the reality is, he was an extrovert. In  high school, he participated in almost all the s port, drama and music activities offered. As a church member, he served from a very young age in many callings including a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 29. He was also politically active, serving as a county commissioner, a Utah state senator, mayor of Richfield, Utah city and served on the Utah State Board of Regents.

Kendrick Harward [in back of car]
Sevier County Commissioner
Richfield, Utah July 4th Parade, 1962

My grandfather wrote his autobiography and always valued his associations with people. Was it hard for me to find information on him? Al I had to do was hold out a bucket and let it pour in.

My mother's grandfather, Parley Anderson, was also a farmer, a generation older than Kendrick. He didn't or couldn't attend much school. Our family has understood that Parley enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending many long, lonely days in the mountains with his sheep. His church attendance was pretty much nonexistent.

Parley Anderson

Luckily our family has pictures of him but only a few newspaper articles and they dealt mostly with his motor vehicle accidents. Some accounts related  he enjoyed people, but we don't know who those people were specifically. We have nothing written by his hand and can only guess at who he really is. Perhaps he is an introvert.

While accounts about extroverts can be easily found in many places including city, county, state, church, newspaper and social club records, find the information of introverts is much more difficult. Tidbits about their lives are often hidden in historical pieces written by family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  

Personally, I like the fact that the personalities of my ancestors are so varied. It makes my search for them and their records all the more fascinating. Since I want to learn everything I can about them, deciding whether they were extroverts or introverts helps me in my search for the stories about their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment