The Motorcycle Man

If you’ve ever watched the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries,” you’ll find my next genealogy project pretty interesting. A friend of mine in Minnesota asked me to dive into his family history, and I was surprised to find out that his great grandfather had been somewhat famous back in the 1960s for his passion of riding motorcycles. His face came up in newspapers talking about the many cross-country rides he had put together. 

Unlike Che Guevara in the movie, my friend’s great grandfather liked to make his cross-country rides a social event. He invited everyone to join in and ride for as long as they wanted. They could also back out whenever they pleased. He, of course, kept riding thousands of miles from one end of the country to the other. Everyone knew his story and simply called him, “The Motorcycle Man.”

The Irony 

One of the weirdest things about what I discovered is that my friend’s dad is now a Milwaukee motorcycle accident lawyer. He helps injured motorcycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve, because so many people assume motorcyclists are immediately to blame when accidents occur. I have to wonder if my friend’s dad feels compelled to help motorcyclists because of his family history.

Maybe my friend’s dad grew up loving motorcycles because of his grandfather. I can’t wait to give all of this information to my friend so he can delve deeper into the situation and ask more about his dad’s upbringing. The connection between his dad’s career and his great grandfather’s passion for motorcycles seems a little too ironic to be a complete coincidence, but who knows!

Tying the Past to the Present

Though I don’t have confirmation yet on whether my friend’s family history is tied to his present-day story, it seems that each new project I research shows more of the past being tied to the present. I find it really interesting that no matter how much the past fades with time, some small piece of it remains with us for decades to come.

Sometimes, it’s a hobby, an occupation, or a personality trait that’s passed on through generations, and each time one gets passed on, it proves that things have a way of lasting much longer than we ever could’ve imagined they would. Genealogy is what helps us discover these lasting qualities. Without doing genealogical research, the past could be lost forever.