It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine
--REM, It's the end of the world as we know it. Written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Michael Mills, and Michael Stipe
|From LOC. Found at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm101.html|
The "end of the world day" according to the ancient Mayans who no longer exist. Well, really they didn't actually say today was the day. It's just the end of their calendar cycle and none of them are around to update it.
See here's the thing about the Mayans...they are an ancient Mesoamerican civilization. Emphasis on the word ancient. While there are descendants of the Mayans alive today, many of them were wiped out after the Spanish arrived. History tells us that the Spaniards came for a visit and they overstayed their welcome. And things get ugly when that happens.
But this isn't the only time the earth was supposed to end. I remember at some point in the early 1980s that California was supposed to have a ginormous earthquake and fall into the ocean. I remember this because it was around the time of our yearly visit to my maternal grandmother in Arizona. We were supposed to come back to...well nothing. Funny thing though, the earthquake didn't happen and I still had to go to school and wash the dishes and continue with my normal existence.
There's numerous other examples of predictions that the world was going to end. There's always been those predictions.
And yet, here we are.
So what does this have to do with genealogy?
Some have assumed that the Mayans knew more than us based on something they read by someone who probably didn't cite his sources and knew little about his subject. He wasn't an "expert" on Maya culture and people believed him anyway. Words, in some cases, have power when they are taken at face value.
Genealogy or any historical research for that matter is like that. There's two important things to remember:
1. Don't believe everything you read. Read, analyze and evaluate.
2. Get another opinion. Don't assume anything.
After all, it's not the end of the world and you have important family heirlooms, photos, and information to pass onto the next generation and the five or so after that.