Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Devastation of Exclusion

          Today I met an acquaintance who I haven't seen very often in the last while. We exchanged greetings and the next topic which came up was "his hobby which has gotten out of control."

          His hobby is genealogy and he has become involved with the provincial group and spends much time on it. As many of you know  you can become totally absorbed in the research of your family history. I admit that I have more than an average interest in family history.

        We had a very pleasant chat and both had difficulty in leaving to go on with other obligations.

        He gave me a website to research to see if I could find more information on my family. I had looked at this website three years ago and had forgotten why I hadn't pursued it . I looked at the website today and put in some of my family names and all of them came back "No records found."  How devastating! It's like we don't even exist! Now I know I'm being overly dramatic. We are a large German family who came from Russia to Manitoba and then Saskatchewan. My great grandfather came with all of his adult children. We did a family tree in the mid 1980's and were able to discover 970 descendants. I was really surprised to see that we were not on this website.

       So being excluded lead me to some other examples of exclusion. I was a junior high school teacher for 37 years. My heart always went out to the little kid who was chosen last or totally left out of a group. Many times a kid came to me close to tears because their birthday was missed in the announcements on the intercom. That was always an easy fix. I would say we'll tell the office right now and a smile would return to the tormented little face.

       My Dad was born in Saskatchewan in 1912. In the early 1960's he wanted to travel to Europe so applied for a pass port. The reply he received was devastating. "Mr. Kline , we have absolutely no record of you!" My Dad thought that his Dad had forgotten to register his birth. My Dad at this time had filed income tax for almost thirty years. My Dad then had to scramble and find records from old school registers to prove his age. In due time he received his pass port. My Dad found the whole issue humorous but nevertheless he had been left out. In later research I found that his Dad was not at fault for forgetting to register him. The birth registrations in Saskatchewan from 1910 to 1912 had many omissions. Deaths and marriages were complete but some how the birth registrations were a complete mess.

      In relation to Dad's story he said , "That's why I never got a letter from the government to join the forces for World War II." If he hadn't applied for a passport he would have found the problem when his old age pension was due.

      So a pleasant chat on genealogy got me off on a tangent about the devastation of being excluded. Some people have enough ego to roll with being excluded and others are completely destroyed.