Tom Mayes, a 2013 Rome Prize winner in Historic Preservation from the American Academy in Rome is back in Washington, D.C., these days. But he hasn't stopped thinking and writing about why old places matter. His series of essays about his experiences and research continues here.
Old Places Connect Us to our Ancestors.
Old places connect us to our ancestors and our ancestors connect us to old places, giving us a sense of belonging and identity. Whether our ancestors came through Ellis Island and lived on the Lower-East Side, traveled through the middle passage of the slave trade to a cabin in eastern North Carolina, lived here all along in pueblos and villages throughout America, or arrived on the Mayflower and lived in 18th-century mansions in Salem, Massachusetts, the old places where our ancestors lived tell us about ourselves.
There is an enormous interest in genealogy in the United States today, as we can see with the popularity of Ancestry.com, Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are, and other television and online programs and applications. People of all backgrounds are devoted to finding out who—and where—they came from, and discovering, recovering, or forging new ties between themselves and their ancestors. Ancestry.com states that, based on a poll in 2005 by Market Strategies, Inc., 73 percent of all Americans are interested in their family history.1 In searching for their family’s past, the where is important to people, and being able to experience the where is often deeply moving.... Read More →