Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kickin' it with J. Horace Round and Ferde Grofé

Antiquated. That is how some might label the work of J. Horace Round, but I would beg to differ. In order for us to not duplicate work and waste time doing something that has already been done (many years before), we must study the past works of other genealogists. Call it an inventory or an audit; when you are about to research a location, a time period, a family surname, or a genealogical problem, it is necessary to understand how other genealogists' related ideas were conceived, articulated, presented to an audience, and then how they became part of the tapestry we now take for granted.

I would love to see how Round would have reacted to the evolution from his "Historical Genealogy" to the glory that is "generational history" proposed by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I wonder if it would be similar to how the public reacted the first time Stravinsky's Firebird Suite was performed! Stendhal syndrome and fetchin' of smellin' salts!

Genealogy is an art and a science; we go by instinct proved by solid logic. But those small movements that start a revolution and change the minds of those around us that may not be appreciated during our blip-on earth. J. Horace Round's book was posthumously published, but we can read and appreciate the grandeur of his bibliography.

In April, my husband and I traveled to England for our 15 year anniversary. One of the many stops was a required day at Lyme Park, also known as Pemberley from the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. (Fun fact: The gardener was a genealogist.) En route we had to drive through the peaks, which was a white knuckle ride to say the least, but once we had time to catch our breath, my husband said, "The Grand Canyon musta blew the tots off them."

Round may have been a British genealogist, with all the waltzes in Europe to accompany his timeline, but how would he have reacted to Paul Whiteman's version of The Grand Canyon Suite? The imagination and creativity that Grofé's work showcases how this next generation of genealogy would unfold.

Paul Whiteman's performance of Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite in 1932 can be downloaded or listened to at Internet Archive (scroll down to Grand Canyon Suite in the alphabetical list).

J. Horace Round's Family Origins and Other Studies can be purchased in e-book format at the Genealogical Publishing Company.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “Genealogy in the Information Age: History’s New Frontier?” NGS Centennial: A Special Issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly 91 (December 2003): 260–77, specifically 260; digital image at Elizabeth Shown Mills, Historic Pathways ( : 17 June 2017).