If Only Every Ancestor Came With a CV or Resume

If only every ancestor came with a
Resume or CV

By Kirstin Nicholson - the Family Tree Detective

I don’t know how you feel, but my research is not complete unless I have a real feel for my ancestors. Birth, marriage and death dates are great, but they are just the beginning. I like to see the whole life journey – where my ancestor lived, went to school, where they worked, what their interests were. It helps build the character of an ancestor and bring them to life. Sometimes it is the only ‘visual’ you can have when photographs are not available.


It occurred to me, when sorting through some of my own personal documents, that a Curriculum Vitae or resume is the perfect document to answer these questions. If I could get my hands on the CVs and resumes of my ancestors my job as a researcher would be made so much easier. At a glance I could find their address, education and training, work history, interests and hobbies, community involvement and so on. Bingo! My work is done! Well, not quite, but certainly made easier.


But, it’s not that simple. Firstly, CVs and resumes are, in the scheme of things, relatively recent, so not all of our ancestors wrote them. Even so, our most recent ancestors may not have had one for a host of reasons.


Secondly, in the ‘present’ our personal information is no one else’s business. We give it out only to those necessary, then destroy it to avoid identity theft or an invasion of privacy. This is not limited to CVs and resumes, we are protective of the personal details and belongings of ourselves, other living people and even the generation before us.


It’s not until several generations later, when the family historian is trying to build the family tree and pad it with as much detail as possible in an effort to get to ‘know’ their ancestors, that we wish we had this information at our fingertips. Instead, we spend hours and dollars trawling websites and repositories in a bid to gather as much detail as we can.


Maybe, just maybe, we can help our future family historians – the ones that will be pulling their hair out trying to piece our lives together. Perhaps we can keep our CVs and resumes safe for future generations. Then again, if they love playing detective as much as I do…


If you need help to put your ancestor’s story together – more than just the bare bones – contact me to see how I can help. I can find out the juicy stuff to bring your relative to life. https://familytreedetective.com.au/services/

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