"No evil-minded person ever felt any interest in his ancestors, or made any efforts to rescue their History from oblivion."
This seems to be a period when Americans started serious research into their family histories. There are many publications about pioneering (ancient) American families that were published in the 1880's, 90's and into the early 20th century. It makes some sense as the country seemed to be discovering that it had become old enough to have a history of its own. The civil war was a recent memory and America had just celebrated its centennial. This was also the beginning of the 'modern age.' What did it mean to be an American? . . . people might have developed a nostalgia for earlier, simpler days, wanted to bolster their families prominence in society or may have just been curious. The introduction to this book, presumably written by Mr. Welles, is short and mostly about the family but a portion talks about the genealogist. It is a great tribute to the family historian.
And so . . . to the genealogist . . .
"No evil-minded person ever felt any interest in his ancestors, or made any efforts to rescue their History from oblivion. The Genealogist is hereditarily and constitutionally a good man. The pride of Ancestry is the foundation of pride of character, and no man can be great without it. The most important and valuable occupation for a man of refinement and culture is to write the History of his family. It is also a most delightful and absorbing pursuit, in-as-much as the Genealogist never wearies with this work. After many years of toil and persistent investigations he is as fresh and vigorous as in the early days. Accumulation of material only adds to the desire for more, and when once he begins, he continues a Genealogist during his entire lifetime . . ."My purpose for reprinting this is not to toot my own horn or claim some higher moral purpose for myself. Instead, it is to show my appreciation to all those who did the hard work of researching family histories over the last 150 years (or more). They worked without the present day technologies that bring a vast amount of information directly to us. They had to slog through public and private records, travel to distant places for first hand research and correspond with many parties both near and far. It was a daunting task, to say the least. Yet they did it and seemed to relish in it. We owe them a great deal and I think Albert Welles did a good job of summing it up.
History and Genealogy
Two Years of Blogging About Genealogy
1940 Census - Once in a Lifetime