Genealogy and Death

Genealogy is intimately tied to death. Most genealogy jokes revolve around the fact that we spend so much time with dead people, or with the records they left behind anyway. I even subtitled my blog “News about dead people.”

Sometimes these dead people are a lot closer to us however, and we cannot joke about their absence. Each record of theirs we hold in our hands brings back memories, a reminder that all of our ancestors were once living, breathing people, as dear to someone as our recently lost are to us.

I have always been careful not to include the living in research I have posted to the internet. I have often extended this to people who have recently passed away. In my mind they are still living, I suppose.  But, I have also had the desire to memorialize the dead, to extend their lives a bit by sharing what I knew of them with other people.

My parents passed away 13 years ago this summer. I have assiduously kept their information off of the internet. Partly out of privacy, partly out of grief, partly because they are just too young to be “dead ancestors.” But, the 1940 census was released this year and they are in it. And, I decided to begin work on the electronic family tree book I always had in mind, and I want to start with them, so I am finally adding their names to my public database.

Carol & Charles Conrad wedding
Carol & Charles Conrad, Wedding, 1959

Charles “Charlie” Conrad was born in 1937 in Philadelphia to Edward C. Conrad and Susan L. Todd. You can see him in the 1940 census in my Todds on Tioga and Conrads around the Corner post. Carol Garrison was born in 1938 in Philadelphia to Orville W. Garrison and Naomi E. Carman. Charlie and Carol were married in 1959 in Pitman, New Jersey. Charlie served in the Air Force in the 1950’s and later worked as an accountant and comptroller. Carol was a registered nurse. They had their own business in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s they moved to Florida where they both passed away in 1999.

They loved each other deeply and saw each other through sickness and health, good times and bad. This site and my research have always been secretly dedicated to them. Now you know.

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