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.