Genealogy Wise

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Everyone has a story of when they were bit by the genealogy bug and their entire lives were transformed to trying to get as much information as possible about their family. This blog will share mine. I will also post this as a discussion forum to hear others stories.

My paternal grandfather died when I was 16 years old on December 17, 1993. I was a junior in high school. Both sets of my grandparents lived two hours from my house in different directions, so I was never close with any of them. My father started helping one of his two sisters clear out my grandfather's home, since my grandmother had died a couple years before him. He brought some boxes home that were to go to his oldest sister and her oldest daughter, because her oldest daughter is the oldest grandchild. The boxes were full of scrapbooks, family photos, journals, letters, poetry and stories my grandmother had written herself and a family tree. A typed family tree. The Graves family. My grandmother's maternal line. A family full of stories that were not written, just hints to ancestors who had fought in the American Revolution, died in attacks on Hatfield by Indians, and helped establish towns throughout New England. Ancestors who had a large group of children and helped establish the United States of America.

I was a huge history buff to begin with, but seeing my own family's history was something different. I had a feeling inside of me that I had never had before. As I sat and read the letters, the journal of my great grandmother who discussed train rides from New York to California, read the stories my grandmother had written I became obsessed with knowing more about my family. I cried as I looked through the scrapbooks, pictures, and went through these genealogical treasures. I wanted to know more, I wanted to continue my grandmother's work and hope to one day write a family history for my descendants. I believe she would love that.

My Aunt was given most of the boxes. I hated that I wasn't able to keep these treasures with me. My father was able to keep the journal my great grandmother had written, some of the poetry and stories my grandmother had written, several tins full of pictures, and some other miscellanous things which I now have and keep close. Seeing these memories of my grandparents and old pictures of ancestors who died long before my parents were even born showed me the depth to life. Sitting among these memories felt like I was being hugged by entire generations of ancestors. I wish my words could describe this experience more passionately, but the words escape me. Bug bites usually heal and you never think about them again. When the genealogy bug bites though, it's a bite that never disappears and never heals. You will forever be a genealogy obsessed individual. I for one am glad that the genealogy bug chose me to bite.

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I've also been slightly interested in local history, even though my grades in history class didn't show it. :) In 1999, my grandfather passed away. This was my first grandparent to pass away, so it was tough. Around the same time, my dad sent me an article from the local newspaper about the FamilySearch website as I was using the Internet before it was cool (BBS anyone?)

I dabbled a bit on there. I was surprised at how many "Zalewski" names popped up. Then I figured out that this was the best time to get working on the family history. How long would the other grandparents live? Fortunately, the rest are still alive and well. So, it's been a bit over 10 years now and I've found much more information than I ever thought possible. Now, it's an obsession some times.

I love a good mystery, though. Where was this interest when I needed it in history class?
My story seems to be the same as both of yours. My maternal grandfather died in the hospital (unexpectedly) in 1999. A few weeks before his death, when he was in the hospital for a surgery, I sat in the family room and asked my Grandmother a million questions about my Grandfathers family. We were never close to his family. I remember 1 family function at his sisters house when I was about 10, but that is it. His family was never close to our family and I was curious. I took note upon note on napkins and took them home. I spent the night on the internet and found an obituary for from Florida for a gentleman who had my Grandfathers surname. Once I saw his picture, I knew he we family! His ears were the same as my grandfather! Within the next week or so, I took this obituary to my Grandma's and she could not believe what I found. But, most important, I was right this man was my Grandfather's cousin! I was thrilled, my first find.

A few years later I was at my Dad's house and he showed me a scrapbook that belonged to his father. It was pictures and newspapers from his life. What a treasure of information I found. It helped me get our tree back further then anyone else has been able (that I know of).

These 2 brief stories are what started me, now it is more than a obsession!

I also have that same love of history, and my grades never showed that either!
I was hit in 2005, smack in the head...but originally in 1984 when I went away for college. I wish I could remember what the 1984 spark was, but the 2005 spark was my stepson's Heritage Project. It set me on course do look into my own ancestry!
I was hit big in 2005, my grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and she was the last of her siblings, I realized that all her family stories were gone. I took my first genealogy trip the week before she passed in 2006. I miss both my grandmothers tremendously and do everything I can to honour them.
My story is just a little different from the rest. My interest actually began when I was old enough to realize I only had family on my mother's side and not my fathers. All I ever knew was that he wrote the names in his Bible, he would never speak of them other than to say that his mother had died when he was about 12yrs old and that was it. He also said he left home when he was 16 and never returned or contacted any of them. He passed away when I was 27 and still left me in the dark.

Then my grandmother on my mothers side who lived with me was like she always did when she had company telling family stories, this was in the late 70's. We were all sitting around the kitchen table listening to her stories one day and she looked at me and said "you know JoyAnn it would be good if you wrote this stuff down" and since I normally did what my Granny said I did just that and to this day I have not stopped searching, whether it is on my family or someone elses. Genealogy is addictive but I wouldn't have it any other way.


OH, by the way, I finally did locate my father's family after 20+yrs of searching and have actually met some of them face to face in 1999. I also found that one of his sister is still living in AZ and she will be 95 in Oct. But when you are looking for a Smith it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
I was bug bitten in 2000. I wondered if there was some genetic explanation for the disabilities shared by my sister who died when she was 15 and my daughter who died when she was almost 11. Perhaps I'll post pictures of them on my blog and share a little about the blessings they both brought to the family but at the time I couldn't help but wonder if a genetic frailty of some sort was behind the characteristics of the girls. Almost 10 years later I still don't know if there's a genetic cause but I've made some amazing (good and bad) discoveries, met some incredible people and have learned more than I ever dreamed. I've been hooked since day 1 and don't see an end to it!
I was bit by the bug when 8 and I was assigned a project to fill out my family tree for church when I was LDS. I could not find my great grandfather since my grandfather was born out of wedlock in a very small Mormon community and no one was talking. 40 years later I still don't know who his family is.

I have always had the bug and on numerous trips to Germany in the 1980's and 1990's, I went to archives on every visit.
I was asked by friends to do their genealogy after they had heard of my European research trips and I looked at it as a challenge and some extra cash. I loved it... It was fun to be able to tell someone he was from Royalty (we in fact went to Burger King and got him a crown and made him wear it on stage for the first song when he was a member of the group Shenandoah. We did all refuse to call him Sir though.) It was fun to pull pranks on someone to tell them that their grandfather deserted the Civil War with his horse that had become government property when he enlisted and now he would be responsible for the fees, fines etc his gggggg grandfather never paid... he fell for it.. so there are some fun times and great stories and it brings great satisfaction to faces of those I can find lost relatives for.

Cindy
I guess I got the 'bug' years ago , my aunt would tell us stories of the family, since her grandfather came from Ireland.Some I remember but after researching & trying to find some records I have forgotten some of the important details, which would have helped more. Alot of the info I didn't know to ask either , Some of the info I found & told my Mother , she said was untrue. Like the SS of Grandfathers daughter who stated his middle name. I was always told it was Michael & on the SS if was Matthew. So do you believe the Daughter or Granddaughter?? He always signed a M. for the middle name. I guess this is what makes it so interesting!!!
That was similar to what I was told as my grandmother's middle name was. My father always said her middle name was Mae and he put that on his SS application. On the other hand when I recieved his brother's SS application he listed her middle name as Martin (which was the her father's first name) so who do you believe. I finally got her death certficate and thought it would tell me which one it was and all it said was Glenna M. Smith. Mystery continues. When I located my father's sister she told me it was Martin, she will be 95 in Oct, I sure hope she remembers correctly as she was only 5 when her mother died.



Kitah said:
I guess I got the 'bug' years ago , my aunt would tell us stories of the family, since her grandfather came from Ireland.Some I remember but after researching & trying to find some records I have forgotten some of the important details, which would have helped more. Alot of the info I didn't know to ask either , Some of the info I found & told my Mother , she said was untrue. Like the SS of Grandfathers daughter who stated his middle name. I was always told it was Michael & on the SS if was Matthew. So do you believe the Daughter or Granddaughter?? He always signed a M. for the middle name. I guess this is what makes it so interesting!!!
Well, where to start, I remember when I was 6-7 yr old I had a family photo taken with my grandparents at the front of their home with my mum and me. Mum was holding the family coat of arms. That's when it all started then I remember the visits to grandma and pappy and the discussion around the letters they had received. Back in 1964 the only way they were able to get info on a possible family connection was to send a letter via the solicitor and he sent it on to someone in England and we waited for a reply. My grand parents also wrote to another family in England of the same name hoping one day they would find a connection. They died never knowing if they were related or not. I wish they were alive today so I could show them what we have found since. The love and passion of the search inspires me everyday. Last year while on my first overseas trip we visited places and walk through houses my ancestors lived in. It leaves a fantastic feeling knowing they walked the very ground we stood on. Finding graves of family under the grass and branches of fallen trees. Yes I love researching my family and anyone who wants their family researched. I get just as excited about someone elses family as I do my own. Sometime more excited than the families I'm researching for. I find it hard to stop sometimes, I just want to go on and on.Tthen to think this is just one set of my grand parents then theres the others and my husbands family I could go on tellinf stories forever, but I wont. Not now any way. Please tell us your story, I love hearing how people fell in love with this most addictive hobby of all time.
Sometime circa 2000 I think. Compulsive reader (and writer) + history geek = natural obsessive genealogist. I'm an absolutely terrible addict. If there was any particular catalyst I suppose it might have been a set of recollections and memoirs left to us by my g-grandaunt, who was b.1900 and related information gleaned from stories told to her by her grandmother (b. 1833 and d. 1920). The antebellum tales therein definitely piqued my interest pretty immediately.
Genealogy is in my genes :) My maternal grandmother was a family historian and my uncle is too. An aunt on my Dad's side was actively researching and doing roots travel to find documentation and sources. I grew up thinking every family had records like we did.

I became more conscious of my genetic calling about about 20 years ago while attending a family reunion on my husband's side of the family. Several aunts were discussing family history and sharing wonderful stories but no one was researching their family tree. No one! I realized I had married into a family that didn't have the genealogy gene! And that they needed my help :)

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