My mom was a big genealogy buff. Through the years, first living in Europe twice and then after retirement, she faithfully searched our family history back thirteen generations. She did this in another time and place, when it required looking at microfiche, searching real records on occasion and visiting the Salt Lake City library as often as possible.
While she shared all this information with us, and we talked about it a great deal, I'm sorry to say that none of the four children really followed in her footsteps when it came to this particular hobby. Both my parents passed away years ago (when my thirty seven year old was still in middle or high school). After my parents died, my brother here in Denver took home the photo albums (I took the loose photos and memorabilia) as well as the multiple boxes that were my mom's genealogy stuff. Unfortunately,until about a year ago it sat there well forgotten. Partly because no one had a deep abiding interest and partly because my brother (a "keeper" of things) was unsure where he put it.
Lately things have changed up a bit. A few things have happened. My daughter developed an interest in her family history. My father in law had been researching his family history, and I wanted to do the same for the younger generation, so I slowly started doing some digging. And finally, my daughter is also the biological daughter of a person I haven not seen or spoken to since she was about eight months old (that my friends, is a book in itself). Even though she is thirty something, I've decided that anything I can do to help her out in terms of her family health history would be a good thing as well. So I have more than one motivation-normal for me.
My brother is remodeling his home, and a few months ago he brought up five large boxes of genealogy information from my mother, as well as that large family chart known as a pedigree.
With my piqued interest, I have slowly but surely been working on my family history-and believe me it's been more slowly! Granted, the study has changed, but it still takes skill (which I'm learning slowly), time and patience (which I surely have), and money (which I am trying to avoid for the moment).
Being one who tries to start at the beginning whenever I can, my first step has been to take a course in Genealogy (through the great courses plus, which I plan to review next week). This course is divided into thirty minute increments, and right now it is covering online sources, off line sources and the basics on how to begin the search, which I found fascinating. When you take the great courses they are videos, but they also have printable help, which has allowed me to print out information to have on hand.
To date, I've joined Ancestry.com (not cheap and I am not sure it's something I will continue with) where I found a copy of my father in law's father's draft card. I spoke with my father in law during the trip south and got a simple list from him of all the descendants of his great, great, great, great grandfather, with dates of births and deaths when known. We are in the process of making copies for each sibling of the large chart. I have said that for my birthday, all I want is pedigree and one box of the genealogy stuff to copy and document.
They say that we all turn into our mothers. I am not sure about that (I have yet to become so involved in English history that I can name all the monarch's in order and many of their offspring), but in this case I am definitely coming late to something that my mother obviously loved.
Not only that, but this fits perfectly into my other goal, which is to scan pictures and then write what I remember about each one, or something similar. My kids lost their grandparents and their father at a young age, and while I talk about them all the time, I want to create a greater memory for them, in some way.
Tomorrow, the first college football Sunday, I plan to spend with the TV-and my laptop or tablet. Because the truth is, the more I find out, the more I want to know.
And so it goes, this weekend in retirement.