Let me tell you what kind of historian I am.
The collection, organization, and maintenance of facts do not concern me. It does not matter to me that someone was born or died in a particular year, for example, only that they lived and died. My interest is more in terms that someone was around 10 or 11, or somewhere around there, for example, when such and such happened, and, more importantly, the impact that the event had on the development of that person’s life. I am interested in the stories, the perspective of the story-teller, and the impressions conjured up by the stories.
As for me, I am simply not designed to attend to such details. No, I am the story-teller.
While I recognize the tremendous value of the facts, I also contend that ultimately, they are not very relevant. Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean that they don’t matter; I only argue that two or more people can be in the exact same place at the exact same time and experience the exact same circumstances, and yet, very different stories emerge. This is because no one ever interprets anything like anyone else. And it is our interpretations of our life experiences that shape our lives.
Whatever the reason, I want to assure you that I tell the absolute truth as I see it!
As a family historian, I seem to have an internal magnet sensor that vibrates at a high frequency near any story that demonstrates something about a person’s character. I look for characteristics that help me understand who I am and why I am the way I am. I look for stories that help me understand how my ancestors managed certain hardships (you see, the facts play an important role here, as well). I look for stories that explain human nature in general, and the particular characteristics of my bloodline in particular.