What is it about music that has long drawn families and communities together? Is it simply the rhythms, melodies and harmonies…or is it the unexplainable power of music to evoke a feeling or mood, capable of crossing time, language, and geographical barriers? Wednesday evening, as part of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference, attendees had the wonderful opportunity to cross these barriers, by attending a Civil War folk music concert in the historic Alabama theatre by the well know musician and performer Bobby Horton.
As we sat in an ornately decorated theatre of a bygone era, we were suddenly transported to the long silent camps of confederate and union soldiers as they sang songs of loss, love, faith and family. Music was both a thing that divided and united them. Though they were different, yet they were the same. They loved their families, they loved their country and they one day hoped to return home.
As we shared the indexing experience with conference attendees, we saw many indexers make a journey similar to our recent musical passage. Though time and distance separated them from the individuals whose documents they were indexing, they were transported, if only for an instant, to a dock in Honolulu where a young Japanese boy arrived with great expectations for a new life. Volunteers accompanied an Irish family as they arrived in New York, looking upon Lady Liberty for the first time. Finally, with nations exploding into the First World War, they accompanied a young man as he registered for the draft, wondering if he would ever return home.
By being a part of the FamilySearch indexing efforts, these generous Samaritans were reminded of an age old truth …though the centuries divide us, our hearts unite us. Indexing is a wonderful privilege and an opportunity to bring us all closer together.