Thursday, November 02, 2006

Genealogy can be addictive

For this Thursday I'll try to keep my list down to 13 reasons for having Genealogy as a hobby. Especially since I have been addicted to it for around 12 years.

  1. Genealogy is defined as a record or table showing the descent of an individual or family from a certain ancestor or ancestors. What they fail to mention in that definition is the fact that once starting the search for your descent, your life seems to change. At least for the majority of us.

  2. The changes are subtle at first. You first realize you are addicted when you find yourself spending more and more time in search of that elusive ancestor(s).

  3. You do strange things like walking in fields of stone and marble; staring at undecipherable writing that occurred during a century or two before you were born; and, if lucky enough to live close to a county courthouse with your ancestor's records, mulling through the dust covered, well worn records of time past.

  4. Besides learning whence you came, you also find yourself in the midst of some very fine people. Genealogists are some of the most caring and sharing folks I have come across in my lifetime.

  5. You also become, in some instances, members of a quite large extended family. For someone who was an only child this meant as much to me as finding out that an ancestor I was looking for was not a male, but a female ending two years of chasing that wild goose.

  6. As a child I never lived close to grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. The only surnames I knew were Edwards, Baxter and Jones. I had blond hair and blue eyes, and assumed that I was mainly of English descent. Little did I know I have more German blood running in my veins than any other nationality. However, since I can trace all my direct descendants back to the very early 1800's, some further back, I truthfully can say . . . I claim no nationality now, hey its been 200 years or more.

  7. Want your children to learn geography and history in a round about way? Get them interested in genealogy. I have learned more about people, places and events that happened long ago, I never learned in school. History became interesting, because the ancestors before you lived during those times, and how they dealt with events of their times more than likely shaped who you are today as well. Did you know that there was once a state called Franklin?

  8. With some people, the addiction gets really severe. They suddenly realize that the dust bunnies have taken over, the lawn is over grown, and the floor around your desk is prime real estate for your research papers.

  9. Getting an e-mail from a stranger that wants to know all about your own grandmother. Especially when you know all your grandmother's siblings, and this writer of the e-mail isn't living in the state where everyone else lives. This happened to me, boy was I cautious in my reply. However, remember that ancestor who had a sex change above? I had just found out about the sex change, had not started researching that line yet, but the female involved was my great-great-grandmother. The correspondent was the great grandchild of this same woman. WOW! A whole new branch to my tree, just landed in my lap!

  10. Being able to tell others very truthfully, that you can trace your descent to Adam and Eve with documentation. You can read all about this in my Feb. 24, 2006 post. It's a whole lot of fun to see people's faces when you tell them that.

  11. Proving a theory (at least to yourself) that if one is passionate enough about something, you can overcome anything. I am about as shy as they come, I do not do well in crowds, sometimes I don't even do well around people I know. When I speak, I don't speak very loudly, and most people ask me to speak up. So when I was asked to speak at a genealogy society's meeting about Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness my first thought was to turn them down. After talking this over with my hubby, he told me I could do this as I was passionate about this site and genealogy. I thought he was nuts, but when he said he would be with me to back me up if my voice goes non-existent, I accepted. I was to talk for one hour, ONE HOUR?, yeah, right. It turned out one hour wasn't enough, and I completely forgot about my stage fright once I got going. Would I do it again? It's debatable.

  12. Being able to put "life" behind some of the older pictures that I inherited when my mother died.

  13. Meeting the love of my life. If it wasn't for genealogy, and being active in the online genealogy community, then being asked to be an employee of a great genealogy website, RootsWeb.com, I would have never met him. All things happen for a reason.


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