About a year ago, as some of you may remember, I was lured into amateur genealogy by Cranky (Ex-) Boss Lady's Daughter who asked for help tracing their Cranky family tree on Ancestry.com. Since then, Cranky (Ex-) Boss Lady has gotten to know a half-brother she never knew she had and I have developed a full-blown genealogy obsession of my own. (First byproduct of this obsession: I can finally, at the ripe-old age of 44, spell genealogy right on the first try approximately 84.5% of the time.)
I have spent absurd amounts of time (and some of my own money now) on Ancestry.com and have recently begun conducting real world records searches by mail. Even as I am in the midst of some three-hour-long feverish binge, scanning census records for clues until I'm bleary-eyed, I sometimes wonder what the attraction is.
I think part of it is the puzzle-solving aspect--piecing together scraps of information to get one step further back. And part of it is the music of all those names: Benajah Main, Weltha Ann Robbins, Godsgrace King, Zilpha Keyes, Tryntje Melchiors, Alanson Fosset. As enamored as I am of some of the names lurking in my family tree, it's probably a good thing for all involved that my children were named before I discovered genealogy.
The names and the mystery are only part of genealogy's allure, though. I think the real heart of my passion for digging around in my roots is discovering my place in my family's little sliver of history. As Melanie over at Is This The Middle? recently said, in her post of the same name, "...everyone comes from an 'old family.'" As someone who grew up everywhere, who craves permanence still, finding my place in long lines that can be traced to the distant past offers a tremendous sense of comfort. I take great joy in knowing my dead relatives are always right where I left them.
R is for Roots
1 day ago