Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

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.

Views: 264

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

As a teenager back in the early 1960s, I spent some time in the summer with my great-grandmother. I had never known my great-grandfather. We started out talking about her family...and how she had been born in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1885. As the stories were told to me, I wanted to know more...and more...and more. I started out writing things down and using the LDS family group sheets and pedigree charts. By the time I graduated from high school, I had my great-grandmother's family back to her grandparents. And so, I was hooked! When I went to college, I just didn't have the time to invest in it, so my mother picked up on it and took it further. After college, I began working on it again and spent more time in the libraries at the microfilm machines. Then when I got married I took on my husband's families and got them hooked, too. It has been an obsession and a delight. It makes you crazy with frustration and you just want to do a happy dance when you finally find that ellusive person who kept such a low profile. Good luck to you all and happy coincidences!
Be lucky you have pictures and letters to look back on. There are those of us that have nothing. But pray on unsuspecting relatives that have them and we have to beg.
Early 70s , probably 8 years old. Loved to hear stories from my grandfather and his nephew. Family reunions were really big deal. Really got into it about 10 years ago. Use my summer vacation from teaching to research every year. Do a little in between, but when I get a good line of info going, I will stay up all night, so I have to discipline my self.
I was bit by the bug in 1999 @ the tender age of 18! I was talking to my father one day and he told me the story of his mom(my grandmother) and how she died when he was 8. I was intriqued and from there sparks flew, fizzled and are sparking back up once again
My interest started after my mother died in 1989 and I received an old trunk from Germany with pictures, letters, albums and
heirloms. The sad part is most of the letters were in German (which I have gotten translated) and old pictures with no indication of who they are. I am the eldest living relative now so there aren't a lot of people to ask for help. So please everyone ask
questions while you can.


In 1982 my grandmother asked for my help in getting a Certified copy of the 1920 census from the Census Bureau. She had been born at home and there was no records, except the Family Bible, and one of her sisters had it.

That event set me going. I had heard stories from my father's parents about their lives in east Texas...but I was young and dumb. I even threw out a book of the early happening of one of my grandfather's friends...which told of he & my grandfather waiting around the corner from the guy's drugstore in his Model T Ford, with their pistols. The drug store had been broken into several times and this time..they would be ready!

Talk about a BIG regret on my part! Anyway..that's my story..the rest is history!
Altho I had heard stories about my ancestors all my life I didn't get the bug till around 2001 when my grandparents became professional genealogists. I was looking thru some books they had made and reading the stories and found it rather fascinating that I was descended from these people.

My grandparents totally love it that Im so into genealogy. My grandfather baught me a copy of PAF and gave me a gedcom off his computer. I've since added alot of names to that gedcom. I've also placed the tree online (as has my grandfather. He does work on the LDS website, And altho Im not a professional genealogist I do help people with their research (and have gained cousins in the process. I've also been contacted by distant relatives thru my website).

Currently Im researching the Carr/Car/Kerr/Ker lines of Scotland. I also have numerous other names on my tree like: Jackman, Pace, Peck, Parshall, Taylor, Reid/Read/Reed, Huettel/Huttel, Graham, MacDonald, Muller, Horton, Olson, French, and Ivins.

My genealogy site is:
I've been doing research off and on for 30+ years. The first thing I remember searching for was my father's family. When I was a kid we found out he had been adopted. My parents called the Methodist Home, where he was adopted from, and got the information they had recorded in a book. Something, somewhere sparked my interest and I began looking. My mama and her family used to tell stories about growing up too. I am by nature a curious person and love history also, so I guess that was behind it. Just being nosy! I can read histories and see pictures of a particular time and area and imagine my ancestors living there. I love learning about hos they lived and some of the things they had to go through. I have quite a few names and dates, but really love it when I can put some flesh on it, so to speak. That's not always so easy to do, but can be quite interesting. Like finding out your half uncle was the last person hanged in the state of always the best stories, but oh, so interesting.
My father was from a very small family and his Mother and both sets of grandparents were immigrants, so he had no extended family in the area. My mother is from a large family, but not very close, so we never really got to know the family much past her siblings and their families, even though they lived relatively close by. I always loved hearing the stories of my aunts, uncles and grandparents as they talked about the extended family, but never did anything about it, until a few years ago. I blame my youngest daughter for "sucking me in". We had recently gotten our first home computer and she was starting to search the internet when she found a heading for genealogy and asked me to help her do a family tree. She lost interest relatively soon, but it was too late for me. I was hooked. Now I feel that I know some of these people that I have heard about, but never got to know.
I was 32 when the bug bit me. I had always been interested in history, but what really prompted me to get started in genealogy was when someone asked me, "What kind of name is Rea?" or "Where did your family come from?" and the best answer I could give them was "I don't know." So, my quest was originally one to dispel my own ignorance of my family's history. From there, it took on a life of its own and 25 years later, I have amassed data on over 12,000 individuals and have founded a DNA surname project which now has 100 members in 4 countries.
This wasn't supposed to be a large project. My mother had died and my father was going through her things. She had collected a handful of items. One of her cousins had a piece about the Houghtaling family in the New York Genealogical Record. The same cousin had self-published a book for her family members. And there were a few scraps here and there. i figured in an afternoon, I could collect and organize it all so my kids could have it.

Then Dad died a couple of years later. He didn't have much ... a cousin drew a family tree ages ago that was turning worn and yellow. I figured in an afternoon, I could collect this stuff, too, so my kids could have it.

But Dad's family has a bit of a puzzle. His GG-Grandfather, Cornelison, doesn't appear to have left much in the way of an official record. His birth and death are listed in the family bible, but not much else. So I figured in an afternoon, I could spend some time in my local family history library and soft everything out.

That was 15-16 years ago. I've found Cornelison's gravestone. I have a working theory on how he fits in to the larger Tallman family. But something concrete remains elusive. That cousin who drew the family tree is an engineer and he wants facts, not theories. So I keep plugging away.
My dad died in April 1993 and I had to clear out the attics of a large farm house, 3 bay garage, and barn. My parents seldom threw out anything! I found photos going back to the mid 1800s (most were labelled), letters, typed family histories. My mind was ablaze! I had been close to 3 of my grandparents & I remembered their stories. The NYSLibrary was 30 minutes from home; a NARA Archives an hour 15 minutes. Connected with distant relatives and, in 1996 I bought (& fought with!) a computer.

I've written 2 family histories and am working on a 3rd. I enjoy helping friends with their family history and the work has kept my mind fairly sharp.



© 2023   Created by Nat Ins for Genealogical Studies.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service