I grew up as an Air Force "brat", moving every 5 years or so, as my father got transferred to new assignments. After graduating from the University of Colorado, my husband and I continued our life in the AF, living all over the United States. In between raising three daughters, I was able to get a master's degree in history and have a 20 year career in the field of history, first in historic preservation, then 15 years as the director of two separate state history museums, one in MD and one at Jamestown in VA.
Perhaps my life as a gypsy was what drew me to family history--showing me that I did belong somewhere. I started by collecting family stories and looking at old family photos--which even today are still much more fun than collecting names and dates. But as an historian, I appreciate even more that someone in my family at some point in time was involved in almost every major historical event in American history. Having that personal connection for me has made history really come alive. It encourages me to want to learn even more about those particular events and allows me to better understand how outside factors--be it war, economic opportunity or depression, contagious diseases, technology, religion, whatever -- impacted or motivated my forebears.
Though my families seem to have always been on the move from east to west, I've tried to visit the places where they settled or where they fought or where they were buried. I've also tried to look at the actual records and documents that show the land they bought, the births and deaths of their children, the activities they engaged in, the property and debts they left behind.
I am an avid researcher and insist on documenting their lives with as much evidence as I can find. I'm not one for copying or accepting someone else's chart, especially when they lack documentation, except to use as clues to prove or disprove. Too often have I seen written material, even published county histories, that are just flat out incorrect yet accepted as gospel.
I also firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due. If someone discovers a source that proves or disproves, or takes the time to do the background history and writes it up, or does some critical analysis of the documents available that results in a better understanding of the families and times in which they lived, that someone deserves the credit...whether it has a copyright or not.
So that's my biography and why I'm happy to be on Wikitree which shares my same values for genealogical research.