I knew it from the first time I watched it in action — this was something important. During my college days a friend from high school let me watch as she researched an ancestor. Although my parents had genealogy books at home that were filled with notes, pictures and trees, this was the first time I’d watched someone in action. It was enthralling. She was searching for an ancestor on some microfiche — I don’t remember the details now. But, I remember distinctly the feeling I had when she found what she was looking for: a trace from her past — it represented someone real. I still thrill at the moment, even all these many years later, even though there have been many experiences of my own since that first vicarious success.
What is it about family history that’s so addicting? Is it the thrill of the hunt? Is it the connection to the past? Is it the way it fills in our understanding of ourselves? Maybe the answers are “yes,” “yes,” and “yes.” It’s an individual answer. For most, it’s just a feeling that keeps us looking to know more.
Here’s a short story a new friend of mine recently wrote me about. I use it with permission. Kathileen says, “I have always loved hot air balloons, and now I know why . . . in my research, I found that a gg(++) grandfather on the other side of my family invented them – in France! Jean Pierre was the 1st person to fly a hot air balloon in the States – He flew for President Washington in the 1700’s.”
So, what’s your story? What is it that keeps you working on your family history? I’d love to hear about your successes! Please log a comment, below.