Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quand l'histoire se répète

It is said that history repeats itself. We hear of this repetition most often when we highlight man's ignorance, intolerance or greed. However, as the earth renews itself in Springtime, there also exists virtue in cyclical repetition.

de Büren Genealogy Cover

Note from Rodolphe to Albert

This notion of historical cycles made an impression on me today for some reason. I often consult a de Büren genealogy written in 1839 by Rodolphe de Büren of Bern. Rodolphe translated the genealogy into French for his cousin Albert de Büren, the Baron of Vaumarcus. On the inside cover is a note to Albert. It reads:

"My dearest Cousin! Please accept this abridged genealogy of our family. I would ask you to indulge its casual style and grammatical errors. Please keep it as a gift from me and use it to document the new births, marriages and deaths to come. This is the only way for the information to endure. Your most devoted cousin and friend, Rodolphe de Büren. Schosshalde near Bern, June 29, 1839."

In times past this small note did not mean that much to me, but recently my perception has changed. Rodolphe was the family genealogist of his time and I feel I am engaged in the same noble pursuit today. The sharing of family history and family stories with my present-day cousins not only gives me great satisfaction, but also gives new relevance and value to the de Büren family narrative as a whole. One that I hope will endure for generations to come.

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