Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting Hooked on Genealogy, Part 1: My Third Anniversary in Genealogy

On September 1 of this year (or should I say 1 Sep 2008?) I celebrated my third anniversary in genealogy. Why didn’t I blog about it then? For most of the usual reasons – other pressing concerns left me with little time, and the significance of it for me merits more than a few hastily written lines. The actual date might have been September 2 – I’m not sure – but September 1 is a convenient day to remember. The first year I celebrated by subscribing to Ancestry and the second year I think I bought a couple of genealogy books. This year I didn’t do much, but I did start my genealogy blog in August, so that was a sort of celebration.

Why celebrate this anniversary? Some might ask whether that isn’t a silly anniversary to celebrate, but it is significant to me. It was much like starting (or perhaps I should say getting sucked into) a big adventure. Never could I have anticipated how stimulating and exciting I would find this “hobby” to be. Finding new relatives, solving mysteries, reconnecting with close relatives, and meeting distant relatives and other researchers are part of the attraction. My research has opened up a genuine interest in history, taught me a lot about research techniques that I never learned in college, and helped me to reach out to people I might otherwise never have met.

Many of my posts just present the results of my research in a straightforward way, but I also like to discuss how I found (or was led to) the information, much as I love to hear and read about how others do their research. Reading other blogs has been illuminating – not only have I learned a great deal about the “How” of genealogy, but also about the “Why” of genealogy. (This would be a great Carnival of Genealogy topic; it may have been done before, but since I am a newcomer, I can claim ignorance…) The two main themes behind the “Why” seem to be continuing a family tradition, that is, being surrounded by people interested in family history from childhood, and the chance encounter through surfing that leads to discoveries that leads to … well, you know what happens from there. I belong to the second group. As I recall how I got “sucked in,” it still seems a little bit incredible to me. It all started with Google.

[To be continued (in a multipost series, I hope).]

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