The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The First Step on My Genealogy Journey

Up until I was 33 years old, I didn't care much about where I came from, much less where my family came from. (Maybe you've felt the same.) After all, I had a life to live, money to make, and dreams to fulfill. I listened politely and sometimes with interest when my parents talked about their parents or grandparents, but always in the back of my mind I thought, “I’ll deal with this later.”

So what happened? Did I wake up one morning with the space in my mind for this project? Did a relative hand me this “job?” Is this some sort of New Year’s resolution?

None of the above.

I just slowly realized that I would never find the time – I had to carve it out. If I didn’t, it would never happen.

Look, I’m not writing this blog to make you feel guilty if you haven’t started tracing your ancestry. But if I can inspire you to do so – well, more power to both of us!

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or quit smoking, you’ve probably heard, “Don’t do it for others – do it for yourself.” But in the case of tracing your family’s roots, I don’t fully agree with this. Instead, I think you should do it for:

· The people who come after you—This means your children, your nieces and nephews, your cousins. Any information you record connects you – if not in person, then in spirit.
· The people who came before you—These people, no matter how little contact you had with them, helped shape you. Their race, culture, religion (and a hundred other factors) made you who you are. By recording their lives, you acknowledge and honor them.

Of course, all of this will benefit you. But since I’m new to the mechanics and emotions involved in this, I can’t tell you the exact rewards you will reap. I do know that if you chose to do it, you’ll never regret it.

So, even if you’re toying with the idea of tracking down your family tree, or if you’re gung-ho to get started, please stop by to observe and interact* with me as I:

· Get acquainted with the people, forums, and tools that focus on genealogy.
· Share my family’s history and memories.
· Provide helpful tips as I learn from experience.
· Bring my own extended family closer together by tracing the genealogy trail.

* When I write “interact,” I’m serious! Give me information! Point me in the right direction! In fact, if you have questions about this process, please post them here. I may not have the answer, but I’ll try to find out. And if I can’t find it out, maybe someone reading this can answer it.

BTW, feel free to chuckle at my bumbling about. I think it’s a mistake to get too serious about this. Then it’s not fun. And if it’s not fun, then I won’t do it. I suspect you won’t either (unless you’re a masochist, in which case, there’s probably a blog for that, too).

~Mary Kaye


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