Question of the Week: Who or what got you interested in genealogy?

+26 votes

Who or what got you interested in genealogy?

For me, there were three factors.

One, my mom was a family history consultant at the local family history library and during the summers when I was a teenager she'd take me with her.  I had way too much love for sitting at a table and filling in pedigree and family group sheets.

Two, my dad's dad was very into family history and he had so many notes and papers and articles to look at.  I loved going through them to try and piece more of the puzzle together.

And three, I'm adopted. So while I loved (and still love) researching my adoptive family lines, I always wondered about my blank biological family tree.

How about you?

P.S. Reshare the question image on Facebook so your friends and family will see your answer.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
reshown by Chris Whitten
When I was a child, my Grandmother was a genealogist and would take me to the Genealogical Society meetings in Las Vegas. She had a small Windows 3.11 computer or something to that effect. She had a whole room in her house with cabinets and files. Binders and binders of family history. She would travel the country and England taking pictures of headstones and such. In '97 we had a trip planned to Germany to visit Stuttgart where some of my ancestors are from, but she died a few months before. She is the reason. She got me interested in history and heritage and family. The stories she would tell...I was too young and didn't know what to do on my own so I didn't get her records, my Aunt did. Now, I'm on a mission to find them all and go beyond since she was limited by the technology of her time.
My father was a historian and was proud of his heritage.  In 1993 with my inheritance of his childhood home and my birthplace my curiousity about our ancestors I made a trip to the county courthouse (then research was legwork) and looked up the deed history of the property. They took me back to William Lowther and so the "hunt" began.  My great-grandmother was a Berry descendant and family friends were doing research on her ancestors.  They shared with me their "legwork" and about a website named Google and WV Culture.  The result was a book published in my father's memory in 2003 and revised in 2005 with lots of cousins.  There were three maternal and four paternal lines in it.  It gives me great pride to know just how much my ancestors contributed to the building of our nation and the Baptist/Methodist Churches "from sea to shining sea."
My interest started when I was a very young boy. For some unknown reason I asked my grandfather who his parents were. Then ensued a lot of talk about them and their parents. I wrote down on the back of an old envelope the names my grandfather gave me and I kept this safe for 15 years until I was able to further the research on the information my grandfather gave me. This took me to the Latter Day Saints library several times a week. My annual leave was spent travelling the country visiting  newly discovered relatives and numerous visits to libraries, museums and cemeteries. My database now consists of nearly 17,000 individuals and research is still a daily interest about 40 years after I asked my grandfather who his parents were.
For me it was a letter that all my Draffan Uncles received from George Draffen of Newington, in March 1960 asking what they knew about our family.   In that letter he pointed out that the earliest reference he had found was of a chartulary witness named James De Raffe at the Abbey of Kelso who between  1160 and 1189 signed his name as 'Draffan', 'Draffen', 'Draffin', and Draphan.    In July 1981 when I was going full throttle in research I exchanged letters with George again who by that time had many more degrees and honours after his name.    My great grandfather James Currie Draffan was born in the small Lanarkshire town of Lesmahagow, which is close to Draffan Castle and the village of Draffan.  In more recent years I have found that one grandmother of William 'Braveheart' Wallace was Alicia Draffan also from Lesmahagow.
Hello. Lives in Maine.. Not clear exactly, what cause me to do family research. My Older cousin sent me info on the Sturtevant's Tree Lines to Mayflower connections. Then I was hooked like crazy. Then started to find crazy info about the Sturtevant members. Then noticed Isaac Allerton and Mary Norris got married in front family statue, like wow. So dig some more, found info connections to Queen's & King's of England.. Mary's few great Uncle & other members served under Queen Elizabeth.

Then did my mom's side, had many road blocks. 1890 census wasn't available. Waited for 1940 census. Located missing puzzle that blew my mind. My parents are Cousins one certain tree line, wow & yikes.. Also heard I was related close to 80 % of the members in this small town. Now its very--very true. Just learned, I'm tree connected at least 1 or 2 times to my elementary class members.. Wow.. Most of them know now..  Pam..of Maine

Can relate--my grandparents were cousins and in WV we have a song--I'm my own grandpa.  My family ancestor took care of Queen Mary of Scots when running away from Queen Elizabeth.  Another danced at the wedding of Henry VII who married Catherine of Aragon  The VII died and Henry VIII then married her who was Elizabeth's father by Anne Boelyn. Seems our families may have crossed paths.

My family was Irish Catholic...but as I got older, I became more and more curious about my Great grandmother, Josefina...she was "Spanish"...I knew little about her. My grandparents were all gone by the time I went into the Navy, as was my mother. I am an only child and so was my father, so I lost track of what little  family I did have.

In 2007, I was contacted by two distant cousins, independently, both doing family genealogy. One is from my mother's family, the other from my father's side. Suddenly I had my family back!
But the mystery of my Spanish Great grandmother remained, and I wanted my own daughter and grandchildren to know who she was as well. So I did the DNA test through proved to be very accurate, showing me as 83% Irish. But it also threw me a said I was connected to Northwestern Mexico around 1775.....couldn't explain that.

I did find my Great grandmother's surname in an old autograph book of hers. The genealogy cousin recommended I try for her death certificate, and that got me her parents a result I have proof that my ancestors were Spanish by descent, but came to California in 1775 as settlers...

So I have been able to give my family some real history of who we are and how we got here....
Thanks for comment. Also have Quebec Canada connections, on my dad "Major//Majeur" lines. Was able locate on my few great grandmother's side that goes into Paris France with weird spelling names. Normandeau;
My childhood summers usually included a few days at my Mother's family home in Manistee, Mi. I had a chance to Great Aunts and Uncles along with a dozen or so of my third cousins. I was often told that we were probably related to about half the town, Every time my Grandparents introduced me to somebody it seemed to be followed by 'third cousin of Aunt Suzie'.  My Grandparents and I also went for walks through the local cemeteries showing me who was buried where. It seemed almost fitting that these cemeteries are right across the street from the family home.

   My second reason for getting into this came from a social work class in college. Everyone was assigned to do their own genogram that covered at least three generations.  From that point on, I have not been able to stop!
When I was 9 years old I asked my mom about her father.  My mother said she knew very little about her father, because he passed away when she was only 5 years old and she had always wanted to learn more about him.  The only information she had about him was his name and that he was a full blooded Swede, and he had passed away when he had went back home to Ohio to be with his mom after she had a heart attack.  She recovered from the heart attack, but he had one and died.  He had come from a wealthy family and his father and him owned a brick company.  The only thing I have been able to do is find my grandparents marriage license.

67 Answers

+7 votes
My father had a letter from his father that traced his paternal line back to the immigrant in the 1630s to, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

It was something we could share. I would write things up and do charts to show him. (Turns out there were three lines back, 2 through spouses).

Then he had his mother's copy of her family book, from 1912, with thousands of entries. Turns out the connections to Royalty didn't pan out, but the new world family from the 1630s to Massachusetts, Connecticut were pretty good.

Dad's paternal grandmother was Mayflower and listed in the Mayflower book with her lineage.

I went to the nearby Family History center and found his great uncle in Who's Who which listed his line. From there I found the first great uncle's brother had written pamphlets on his paternal family, my father's maternal, mother's line.

So there you have all 4 of my dad's grandparents documented back to the 1600s. From there I started working on spouses. I went to the library and found family books on many of them.

No original work just looseleaf notebooks full of copied pages from books.

I used Family Tree Maker to store information and print charts. I shared with one of my father's sisters who was interested in genealogy and belonged to the societies.

All I had on my mother's side was a marriage certificate and their death certificates which I got when NY allowed (50 years after death). I found their graves by writing to the major cemeteries in the city. One responded with plot locations, which I found. They were in the city directories.

That was that until I signed onto AOL and found their genealogy group. We shared info. I found a cousin who had an newspaper article that described my great grandmother's brother's death at Gettysburg (bayoneted asking for water).

Not much more other than wikitree and connecting more spouses.

Other than my father finding a pamphlet at the Library of Congress written by the same great uncle on his maternal line. And a letter I wrote to the sender of the pamphlet that had me asking a college mate of my father's about information on that line and getting a packet of photos from the 1800s sent by his nephew who was cleaning out the house to put him in a retirement home.
by Sue Hall G2G6 Pilot (139k points)
Magnificent story, Sue.

BTW: I had several relatives at Gettysburg; one, a direct ancestor, was wounded in the first day, and captured shortly after the battle. The wound was bad enough to get him an amputation and a discharged.
+7 votes
Exceptionally detailed stories. Very many, of our Molford (originally "with an O") descent from three of four brothers, including "William and John in New York" who came here with the "Pilgrims" (Puritans actually), and our descent from certain "high class Dutch" people (the Gardiners of East Hampton, I suspect), our family having come to England long ago (when there was "NO L" in our name) from someplace "between Holland, France, and Germany" (Belgium apparently). This and much more was told to us ever since we were little kids ---long before all the confusion on the internet--- and repeated over and over again by my aged father and his aged father both. Not read from books, but memorized and passed down to them from numerous generations. There was never, on my father's side, any mention of royal ancestry, just that we were "high class Dutch" and such, probably because the family has always downplayed such connections, there being no embellishments in any of the stories I have since verified.
by Martyn Mulford G2G6 Mach 2 (26.0k points)
edited by Martyn Mulford
+7 votes
I usually credit my grandmother. She was my babysitter when I was young, so I spent loads of time at her house. She had this beautiful family tree, the kind that looks like a tree, that she was filling in one day at her dining room table. I always loved art and stories, so I was curious. She explained to me how it worked, and how all these people were related to one another. Most of the names were familiar, because I often heard her talking on the phone either to or about them, and it was like an epiphany learning how they were all connected, and being able to visualize it. Plus, I was that one kid who always would sit and listen and ask for more when the adults in the family would start talking about "when I was young." It helped that I come from a family of good storytellers.
by Amber Brosius G2G6 Mach 2 (22.3k points)
And I forgot to mention that I was literally born during a family reunion.
+7 votes
My aunt had been doing family tree research for a long time, I'm not sure how long.  I don't remember how old I was, but she once brought this big roll of paper that covered the whole kitchen table and had all these names on it.  I can't say I was bitten by the bug then, but I thought it was interesting.

My mother had a history book from her side of the family that I looked through many years ago, got completely confused with that, and still am so kind of leave my mother's side alone. It's been pretty well researched, so I feel nothing new really to discover there.

I live in the long, cold Canadian winter and a couple of years ago, Ancestry had a two week free trial in March.  I needed a project, so I joined just to see if it would interest me, and I wanted to see if the "family stories" were true (they weren't). Well, I got bit and got bit hard.  I made a lot of mistakes early on, but have learned from them.  Now, I spend quite a bit of my time at it, learning better ways of researching.  I even took on a side project, just because it seemed interesting.
by Debbie Lamb G2G2 (3.0k points)
edited by Debbie Lamb
Funny how bad weather can create such good experiences, Debbie. Works for me, too.
I recently got a folder of letters from my dad that my aunt wrote.  They were from the early 90s and she had all these questions in there.  I wish I could tell her that I've been able to answer many of them.  I have the advantage of the internet, she had to travel and go through archives with limited time.
+5 votes
I have always considered myself extremely fortunate. When I was young, I was surrounded by family. My paternal grandparents lived across the alley behind us, along with my grandfather's mother and aunt, and my father's younger brother. My maternal grandparents also lived a short bicycle ride away with my mother's younger brother. Four of my great-grandparents were still living, several great-grandaunts and uncles, and many grandaunts and uncles. As my parents worked, I spent a lot of time with both sets of grandparents and my maternal grandmother's oldest sister, who had never had children and became a surrogate grandmother.

From this group, I heard countless stories about the family and met all the distant relations as they came through town on visits to the older generations. My paternal grandfather especially loved to share stories of his youth with me. I was the first grandchild, so became his confidant and "little helper" as he delved into genealogy after he retired in the mid-80s. We would pack up a sandwich and a few notepads and visit the local libraries, courthouses, historical and genealogical societies, and archives, spending hours pouring through dusty city directories, scanning through endless rolls of microfilm, and searching bound volumes of passenger manifests.

I've always been of a studious nature, so it stuck, and as my grandfather's health declined I became the official family historian. He never learned to use a computer, so passed everything to me to further the research when he hit deadends and could no longer visit the repositories in person. I have continued it extensively, and added my maternal side. I had just located the records that led to finding my grandfather's great-aunt's descendants (he had always thought her children had all died in infancy), when he passed away without my being able to share the information. I will always credit him for passing on the genealogical bug to me, just as I will always miss him.

The bug bit even harder, though, after his death. My grandmother moved into an assisted living facility and decided to give away everything while she still lived instead of waiting. I inherited all the family photos (including multiple large wall portraits), letters, and other genealogical items (including funerary books, diplomas, yearbooks). Shortly after, my maternal grandfather passed into my keeping his mother's papers and photos, which amounted to two truckloads of boxes! No one had gone through the boxes for decades - some had been packed by my great-great-grandmother in the 1950s, and not opened since. The finds have been amazing - everything from photos of my 4th great-grandparents, my 4th great-grandfather's Bible, my 3rd great-grandfather's pipe, reading glasses, and a half-used tin of tobacco, to the deeds to all the family properties, original handwritten wills, IRS tax returns from 1930 onward, and my 2nd great-grandfather's shaving kit that hadn't been opened since he died in 1943. The inheritance of such a collection has led me down a second path as an archivist or curator, and is fueling a renewed effort of researching my family to find some of the more distant relations mentioned in the letters, or who sent one of the thousands of postcards, or are pictured in the countless photos.
by Chad Stumph G2G1 (1.4k points)
Great story, Chad! Loved it.
+5 votes
For me, I randomly searched on Rootsweb one day for my grandfather's name and up popped a whole slew of ancestors I couldn't have even imagined. But I never would have kept up with researching if my grandmother hadn't shown such an interest and supported it. Even now, almost 5 years after she has passed, I'll still find something interesting and wish I could run and tell her!
by E Childs G2G6 Pilot (103k points)
i get this exact same feeling, EC, wishing I could tell my Grandpa all I’ve discovered.
I started when my daughter came home from her fifth grade class,teacher had give her homework,ask your parents if they had any famous people in their family tree,i had no idea,i called my aunt back in Vermont(we live in Texas)she said with a big YES.She said we were related to the Taft family,also said she would go to see if she could get some papers records.She sent me five family reports,i went to a local Mormon church and came out with fifteen more names,they told me to log onto Rootweb and start there,well i tell you i found more and more family members,but the biggest heart ache was that after my father died my mother did not get along with the relatives and doing my search i found that a lot of my family i am finding were still alive back when i was younger and i could have talked to them and get all the information straight from them along with all the stories,i have be searching my tree for over 24 years and i told my daughter i would give her my files so she could add her future family to it,she said she has no interest in doing the tree.I hope your kids are interested,for what work we do who we do it for is them and their families.

LAST thing  talk to your family,take down or better yet have them write down their stories,write down all the info you can from them and their family history,looking for it after they are gone will not be as pleasing and you might get the wrong info.and do not stop with just your family do all the branches as well.
+5 votes
My father's family celebrated their Norwegian heritage, but my mother's family didn't seem to have any heritage at special foods, songs, or language.  I always thought it was strange.

My mother's father did some research in the 1970's and 80's.  But I have yet to get my hands on it. (It's in my uncle's garage 1500 miles away from me.)  I can't wait to combine it with my own though!  Hoping to knock down a brick wall or two!

So about 20 years ago I started "dabbling" on Ancestry and a few other places, trying to dig up answers.  I would find bits and pieces, would get excited, and then burn out or didn't have much extra time to dedicate to research.  Last winter I really put some effort into my research and finally traced that line back to the colonies, the first in 1630.  350+ years here and any real cultural identity has been lost to time.

My mom also recently had a DNA test done, so I am anxious to add that data.
by Aurora McBee G2G Crew (350 points)
+4 votes
I became intersted in grade school when I had a school project about family history. I have been doing genealogy for years. Helping my mother-in-law with her family when I got married as well as tracing my own family. It was nice to have cousins that wrote books to help with the genealogy. One before I was born, and the other when I was in High School.

My family is bless to have so many cousins, aunts and uncles interested in researching our family history.
by Deb Lehfeldt G2G1 (1.7k points)
+6 votes
I was 14 when my dad was murdered. I remember my sister and I trying to answer the questions for his death certificate because my mom was a basket case. None of us really knew much about his history thus began my searching! It's been 30 years for me, definitely a learning experience.
by Anonymous Tucker G2G Crew (960 points)
+5 votes
As children we watched Alex Haley's Roots and started asking questions about our own family's origins.
+4 votes
What got me started in genealogy? Well, my grandparents would talk about family members I knew nothing about. My parents seemed to know them and there were photos, but as a child I couldn't really imagine these people.

I knew my maternal grandparents both came from large families, but not my paternal. Dad's mother was one of a few and they never talked about Dad's father.

Over time I found boxes of photos and started piecing names together when I stumbled across some basic family history my mother's mother had typed up (on an old manual typewriter with carbon paper!) and was able to fill in more blanks. This was still early computer days before PCs were available.

Once I could afford a computer and some DOS based genealogy software I began organizing everything, but still the going was slow due to a lack of resources readily available.

Many years and many software programs later I have managed to trace my mother's family back to the 1600s and 1700s. Unfortunately my father's family is still largely a mystery. But I enjoy every day digging through files and looking for that elusive missing piece that will lead me ever onward!
by Christopher Decker G2G1 (1.4k points)
+4 votes
It was so long ago, I'm not really too sure! When my Father passed, I inherited the family photo albums, a bunch of loose pictures, documents, and letters from England. I also had a collection of memories of Mom and Dad telling me stories about their families. Around the same time a cousin was working on The Tree, and contacted me for information, and my son who started gathered up all he could find about his Grandpa's wartime service, and did a bunch of research, for his own reasons. Suddenly I had all this information, and decided I should start trying to organize it. Away I went on the fun, frustrating, surprising, amazing journey I'll be on for years to come! Every time I uncover a fact, discover the truth behind a family story, or find a new relative - I'm off on another brick wall to punch through, or a mystery to solve! Its an adventure, and I can thank Kelly and Nell for the stories, pictures and information, Bill, Isobel and other relatives and friends for information, documents, and leads, and Harley for all the phone calls that start out, "Mom - guess what I just found out about Grandpa", or his Great Grandpa. Its an ongoing project now, and occupies my brain and lots of my time, and keeps me sharp!
by Linda Hockley G2G6 Mach 1 (12.2k points)
+4 votes
I am first generation American on my dad's side. My grandparents died prior to my birth.  I was always told we were the only family in the USA. I decided I wanted to know about my Swiss family, and I thought, I don't know about my mothers side. Well now I know a lot.
+4 votes
When I was a child, my mother would take me to graveyards and cemeteries to "visit" relatives. I would often wonder if all the people with the same name were related and try to make up stories to connect them.

Later, I discovered computerized genealogy and often tried to connect fictional characters. Some books have family trees for their characters, which makes things interesting. I can't submit those GEDs here, of course, but it would be nice if I could.

Since I found this site, I've been interested in finding out if friends and famous people are connected to my family and have found some interesting connections.
by Aaron Gullison G2G6 Mach 5 (58.4k points)
+4 votes
Three of my great-grandmothers are buried in the town where I live; the fourth was a mystery because she lost her children, my grandfather and his sister Sue, when they were probably 1 and 3 years old.  I've searched for her for decades, a search that was stymied because I didn't know her name--nor my great-grandfather's name.  A beloved cousin, Vicki, helped me greatly, but even though I followed the leads assiduously, I couldn't find her. About five years ago, I found a descendant of Sue who took a DNA test.  As much as I detest Ancestry, building out Ancestry trees, following the leads of new matches, and working for hours alone, I finally found her.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure it's her, and I have a couple of distant cousins who haven't dismissed my findings outright.  But wow, is it hard to find a woman who lived in Arkansas or Oklahoma around the turn of the century, who probably remarried after my great-grandfather died, and who might have died in 1915, although there isn't a record.  The DNA lines up, the trees line up, and my instincts tell me that my decades-long search has led me to the correct person.  Fingers crossed I'll be able to find the documentation that proves it, and that some day I'll visit her (yet to be located) grave.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (202k points)
+4 votes

It was my grandmother's stories that got me interested in family history. My grandmother, who cared not a whit for genealogy, but knew all the family stories, and, of course, who everyone's parents and grandparents - and double first cousins, twice removed - were.

Stories about the skeleton in the closet that her brothers used to scare her with. Really, a skeleton. Their father was a doctor. Stories about the old farmhand who died in their home. There were no hospitals out in the country, so the doctor's wife often took in the sick and nursed them. But "Uncle Henry" turned out to be a female, a fact no one knew until they went in to prepare the body for burial! Stories about who had to get married: "I think they just let the passion run away with them!" Stories about her large family, all long dead except for her. I had to write down their names to keep them straight. I was 13. And so it began.

And the stories continued. Her brother, who died in camp during WWI, of what was probably the Spanish flu, although they didn't diagnose it as such until the following month. And his twin sister who died 18 months later, of the flu, leaving two small children behind. Her mother, who pretty much opened a restaurant in their home to put her husband through med school while raising 10 children.

My grandmother, who sat for years with eyes glazed over while my grandfather and I rattled on about genealogy. But if he said,"My great uncle married her cousin, once removed, on her father's side," she could pipe in: "No, that was your aunt's half-brother on your mother's side!" And he would admit she was right.

Her parents were called "Mammy" and "Pappy" - by all the children and grandchildren alike. When my own father talked about his youth, he usually said, "My grandfather took me to town sometimes in his mule-drawn wagon." But years later, when I was seriously "doing genealogy" and writing down the dates and doing the math, one day I exclaimed to my father: " You never knew Pappy?"

"No, I never knew Pappy. He died before I was born."

Wow! That was his other grandfather he had talked about. He never knew Pappy.

But...I knew Pappy!

by Alice Ann Fesmire G2G2 (3.0k points)
+4 votes
My mother knew nothing of her family or ancestry. Her father died when she was only about 2 and her mother told her nothing. When my grandmother died about 40 years ago we all went to Washington to clean out her house. We found a huge leather bound picture album of unknown people. This started my mother's search for her history. My father took her to the archives in Utah and they both did family research. Unfortunately she passed away 15 years ago 9/11, before we all had our DNA done. I would have loved to have HER DNA. I have continued the research she started. She would be amazed to know the incredible people and stories I have discovered in her tree!
by Jamie Thompson G2G6 (6.2k points)
+4 votes
My father asked me for years to look up his family . He kept saying we descend from the pilgrims .He said his grandpa was in the navy ..He would say “you have that new technology the computer to look up our family” ,I would say yes dad when I have time ....  over and over I would hear the same . It took My dad’s death six years ago to get me started I researched thru My grieving and mourning and I have not stopped .. He would have been ecstatic to hear all the facts and ancestors I found ...Yes ! dad you were right you come from the pilgrims ,as a matter of fact your name Bradford was a pilgrim ,Governor William Bradford .. You descend from three pilgrims , three Scottish prisoners of war .. I found where in Poland your moms family came from .. I found your family ,My family ,Our future generations family .. If only I took the time my dad would have been right by me with happiness ... I am glad to leave our family history for future generations ..
by Dawn Nott G2G1 (1.9k points)
+3 votes
Mine is a 4 way answer. When I was a young girl of around 8/9 my paternal grandfather always talked about our Scottish roots (my maiden name is Matheson), and how his dad came from Canada, but ancestors before him came from Scotland, and how we needed to be proud of the roots we came from. He was always talking about how we needed to honor our name.

When I was in 6th grade, some of my friends made fun of me and asked me if I was Chinese (no); I told my dad, who told me I was part Native American, which was news to me and quite interesting! He told me it came from my mom's side of the family (and it does).

My mom was also interested in genealogy and when I was 15, I began to ask questions and get more interested. I began to interview relatives, though some of them (like great aunts in their 80's) were very sparse in their answers and for some reason did not like to talk about it. But I wrote down what info they gave me.

My maternal grandfather died when I was 9. He was buried in an old family cemetery with graves that went back to around 1810, and there was an old log cabin on the property just a short walk from the cemetery. Both were in the woods and one had to walk down a long dirt lane about 1/8 of a mile to get to the cemetery, and about another 1/16 of a mile to get to the cabin, which was down in a small ravine area, hard to find when the trees are in full leaf. The cabin is still there, though it is falling down and not salvageable.

 Then when I was 19, I went off and found the old cabin we'd walked through after his burial, and the family cemetery where he was buried, They were both on the same land, and my great grandma had told me the land had been in her family for generations as one of her grandfathers had come into Ohio and settled here and built the cabin.

I was hooked! I needed to know more. It took me 20 years to find which ancestor built the cabin and bought the land. I have been working on genealogy off and on since I was 15 years old and I love it!  I also have helped so many others get started and showed them how. It has become a passion with me as I love the history and the people I find.
by Lori Smith G2G5 (6.0k points)
I forgot until I was reading the other answers (which I loved!), my paternal grandfather had a book published in 1926 for a family reunion which chronicled the descendants of Benjamin Cave from VA, who served in the Revolutionary War in place of his brother. For his service, he was given land in Ohio. I also found this so interesting and I made a xerox copy of this book about 20 years ago so I would have my own copy.
+3 votes

My father, Crowley-1657, and his mother Fuller-9884 collected much genealogy for both sides of my family tree and I'm really grateful, including much first person diaries. I became interested in this family material as a teenager as it connected who I was to a larger context of history. I learned that there were some notable relatives; folks related to the Plymouth founders; cowboys who headed west; and interesting European church renunciates in our tree and that made it all the more interesting. Now my brother-in-law is working to digitalize much of this material for posterity and I'm using both WikiTree and Ancestry to upload our branches. Geneaology gives me a personal connection and sense of the breadth of human history and many interesting stories to read. 

by Jonathan Crowley G2G4 (4.1k points)

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