Friday, December 22, 2017

Blog Caroling 2017:
The Genealogist's Christmas Carol

Every year, in ample time to be enjoyed before Christmas, a genealogy blogger of note puts out a call for fellow genea-bloggers to share in a festive digital event: Blog Caroling. Once again, "the footnoteMaven" has issued her announcement, and this time, I want to be sure to be part of the festivities.

Though I had posted the following story back in 2015, I don't believe it had made the cut for the blog roll of merry carolers, but the song—and the story behind how I chose it—has come to take on a meaning so special to me since then, that I want to share it once again. It's a song that's likely not on the top of most people's lists of carol favorites, but once I learned to slow down and savor the lyrics, it has become one of my favorites for the Christmas season. Here's what I shared, back in 2015:

What to share of all the many holiday favorites? Something, I decided, that would match the year now passing. Unlike other years, which at their close brought sadness, this year was one of celebration. I thought of our daughter's now-finished marathon through her college education, complete with its highlight—study abroad in Ireland—and immediately wanted to feature a traditional Irish tune.

"But what about the Amy Grant song," my daughter asked. She was thinking of Heirlooms, featured on an old Christmas album—conveniently entitled A Christmas Album—which our family has listened to every December since before our daughter was even born.

I didn't remember the piece—until she played it for me. Then, I recalled the melody—and Amy Grant's hallmark performance of it—quite well. But the lyrics...they never had registered, I guess. Sometimes, we hear things so many times, their meaning becomes dulled to us.

"It talks about the very things you do—sifting through the old letters, photographs, family memories," she explained.

And sure enough, once I took a look at those lyrics, I could see her point. It's just that I had never noticed it before. Never thought about it in the context of the very things that mean so much to me. Apparently, they meant just as much to the lyricist who wrote those words to this Christmas tune—a melody I'll now never hear without dubbing it, "The Genealogist's Christmas Carol."


Up in the attic
Down on my knees
Lifetimes of boxes
Timeless to me
Letters and photographs
Yellowed with years
Some bringing laughter
Some bringing tears

Time never changes
The memories, the faces Of loved ones, who bring to me
All that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me

Wise men and shepherds
Down on their knees
Bringing their treasures
To lay at his feet
Who was this wonder baby yet king
Living and dying
He gave life to me

Time never changes
The memory, the moment His love first pierced through me
Telling all that I come from
And all that I live for
And all that I'm going to be
My precious savior
Is more than an heirloom to me

 My precious Jesus is more than an heirloom to me

Perhaps you've heard that tune so many times, you've lost track of the lyrics, too. Sometimes we are so much into our projects, are so deeply infused with the process, that we forget to take a step back and take it all in afresh. May this Christmas respite permit you the fresh ears and fresh eyes that bring you a fresh joy and renewed vigor for a new year.

From the cut, "Heirloom," written by Amy Grant, Brown Bannister and Bob Farrell, first appearing in the 1983 album, "The Christmas Album."

Blog caroling image above courtesy Thank you once again, footnoteMaven, for hosting such a splendid caroling festival!


  1. What a wonderful Christmas message, Jacqi. I had never heard this song, but I think I will also think of it as "The Genealogist's Christmas Carol." Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Linda! Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas to you, as well!


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