Ancestors

According to reliable sources libraries these days (especially in the UK) have fewer books and more computers - computers that are increasingly used to research ancestry. It seems that in a volatile world the pursuit of ancestors, or of nostalgia, is consoling for many of us. I can only agree. I found myself last month researching my uncle, killed in action in 1944. Not much existed on-line, although I did turn up a picture of his grave. The thing is I could presumably have contacted the widow of his son, or someone from the family. I know they're alive. Unfortunately I don't know their names or where they are. My father didn't really keep up with them. What might this tell us? Perhaps that in earlier times ancestry (for those of us who aren't aristocrats) was something that didn't matter much. People had a pretty good idea of who they were and of their culture. They knew they had relatives scattered around and didn't worry about that much. Today we are more neurotic -more desperate to know who we are because the media tells us so often who we ought to emulate, but forgets to ask us to value who we actually are.