Sunday, April 17, 2011

Open Discussion Weekend - What Drives Your Genealogy Passion?

It's no secret that we genealogists are passionate, obsessive, driven, enthusiastic, dedicated .... I could go on.

This weekend's question is: What drives that passion or obsession for you? Is it the whole idea of finding out who you are through the lives of your ancestors? Do you have one or two ancestors who really intrigue you?

How did you get started doing family history research and what was the trigger that got you hooked? At this point in your life, can you imagine ever stopping your quest for family history information?

What aspect of your family history research do you enjoy the most? For me, it's no question that I love researching old newspapers and walking in the quiet solitude of cemeteries.

Please share your Comments below.


  1. I think it's a whole bundle of things that combine to drive my interest, but the most significant is the puzzle-solving. I love problem-solving, brainstorming, anything that gets the gears in my head grinding. I could do it for someone else's family, but not as intensely, so I'd say a secondary driver is the family link. I like thinking about how one generation links to another and ended up with me! right now these two elements have me fascinated with my great-great-grandfather, Erastus Murray.

    I made a feeble attempt to start research about 35 years ago. I visited an ancestral hometown during a semester in Europe and then got more interested because I had just "inherited" many items that no one else in the family wanted. It made me curious about the origins of these items. I also got some of my grandmother's papers that had family stories. I started again last year when I retired.

    The part I love best are material connections--old documents, books, belongings. Most recently I've started to rethink the history of a Shaker-style chair I inherited. I always assumed in was an early 20th century reproduction, but I now I know about some of my colonial New England heritage, so I'm wondering if it might be a bit older.

    Thanks for suggesting this topic!

    P.S. No, can't imagine giving it up!


  2. For me there's no question. Family. I want to know what my grandmother knew. I can't ask her so I have to figure it out on my own. I also want to know where I came from. How did we all get to where we are today? I'm a librarian by profession so I love the research aspect of things. If it was all about names and dates, frankly I don't know if I would be bothered. I want to know about the people. Who were they? What were their lives like?

    Cemetery cruising is fun too...

  3. I love the family stories we discover. What photos we have from 100+ years ago tend to be of old folks - nice! BUT, they were each young, ambitious, full of vim and vigor, loving, passionate - the same things we were in our youth, as well. Reading and imagining their lives makes it all worth the effort it takes. ;-)

  4. It started for me with pictures. We have some wonderful pictures on both sides of the family and I just loved (as a young girl) hearing about them. I have been fortunate in that they are now mine :-) I guess I always liked history and thinking about living then and seeing the pictures of my own ancestors who DID live "back then" - well, genealogy was just the natural place to go. I can't imagine NOT being interested in my family history.

  5. I want to ensure that the memories of my ancestors live on for as long as I'm alive. I like gathering all the information I can, forming portraits with records, and sharing them online so their memories are not forgotten.