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Old 05-19-2013, 09:49 AM
bjh bjh started this thread
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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What do you enjoy about genealogy? Why do you do it?

I like:

-learning about history from the perspective of ordinary people. You always learn something, just looking at old census pages.

-feeling the connection to history. It makes it more meaningful to know how ancestors played a part or were present when historical events occurred.


What about you?
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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I've always been a history buff, and I enjoy genealogy when I can find family connections to history. I don't really have anyone terribly famous in the tree, but many of my relatives did know people who were famous. This makes me want to read and study more history.

For example, on my father's side my 5th great grandparents were in Harrison County, Ohio, in the 1850's. Their neighbors up the road were the Custers. So that makes me want to read more about Little Big Horn. I sometimes joke with people: My great-great grandfather probably grew up playing cowboys and Indians with little George Armstrong Custer.

On my mother's side my 7th great-grandfather was friends and business partners with Moses Austin and his son Stephen F Austin (Austin, Texas). This makes me want to learn more about early Texas history and the Alamo.

About the only person in my tree who is really famous is Thomas Alva Edison. On of my distant cousins, Mary Stilwell, was his first wife.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:01 PM
 
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In the past two years I lost both my parents and my aunt. They were all elderly, but we had always been close. I absorbed so many family stories over the years, and doing my familys' genealogies has given me a way to fill in the gaps in what they handed down. My great-grandmother always said that she could see the battle of Antietam "in the clouds", but we couldn't understand how since they lived in Pennsylvania. I discovered that her family had lived in Maryland during the Civil War. I also discovered that one of my great-grandfathers died an alchoholic - which explained my grandmother's extreme dislike of drinking. I was able to join the DAR and have discovered that both my parents had ancestors in the Revolution. It has become a fascinating hobby for me and a way to feel connected with the past.I just wish I could have shared all this with my parents when they were alive.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:31 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,267,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjh View Post
What do you enjoy about genealogy? Why do you do it?

I like:

-learning about history from the perspective of ordinary people. You always learn something, just looking at old census pages.

-feeling the connection to history. It makes it more meaningful to know how ancestors played a part or were present when historical events occurred.


What about you?
I like those things you mentioned as well. I am also fascinated to see the changes in a family over a long period of time. It's very interesting to me to see how someone came here with nothing, or even less than "nothing", maybe as an indentured servant, and then built wealth and had something to leave to the next generation. Or, conversely, as with some of my lines, to see how family started out with wealth and a certain amount of status, or even connections to nobility, and over time ended up as simple farmers who are not at all like those they descended from.

I'm also interested in this same thing in the context of how families later intersect, where you have a long line of educated professionals who intermarry with a poor immigrant/sharecropper's daughter and what happens after that.

What I love best are the nuggets of "stories" when I come across them, that go beyond just the dates and places, even if it's just based on rumor or "so and so always said" -- the little bits of insight into the personalities of people are the most fun for me, either through written accounts, when someone bothered to record things about themselves and their family, or through oral tradition. I like to imagine what their lives were like and what kind of people they were. It's kind of mind-boggling to realize that these people, so long ago or so far away are my family. I like to wonder if I have inherited any traits in personality, because aside from the whole nurture/nature issue I have seen instances of kids being just like a parent that they never even knew and so when I get stories that illustrate a person's personality I always wonder if it has carried down to me and my kids.

I think that a big part of this may have to do with coming from a small family. I was raised with just my brother, who is nine years older. I didn't have much contact at all with my 2 cousins, who grew up in the Philippines and Guam. My mother was one of just 2 children, as was my Grandmother, whose own mom died when my Grandma was just 13. Growing up, what family I did have was living far enough away that I didn't really "know" them. I have half siblings that I never knew, from my Dad's 1st marriage and I was raised in a single parent household from a young age.

I was always a bit jealous of friends who had numerous siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and went to family reunions, so I think that genealogy gives me a sense of being part of something much bigger than what I grew up with.

I feel like I do this not only for my own satisfaction, but for my children, should they grow up to be passionate about it all, they'll have less work to do.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
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I love the search, and that is the reason I spend so much time on this computer helping others in their quest. That also is the reason I have subscribed to many Sites. Except for the history and family connection, often the "find" is a let-down.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:36 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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I go through phases--sometimes it's the thrill of the hunt, it can be to satisfy curiosity, sometimes I find a local connection (like an old house or gravesite) that I can visit, very often it leads to theme vacations like the one planned to Vermont for this summer, talking to other genies, bringing history to life, learning history, finding a feeling of self--who am I? Something to pass down to the generations.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:06 PM
bjh bjh started this thread
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
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When learning of my ancestors' triumphs and tragedies I relive them a bit. I feel a twinge of sadness seeing they've lost a child or happiness seeing they've acquired a farm.

I have come to know and love my ancestors like family.
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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finding out my heritage.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:15 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjh View Post
I have come to know and love my ancestors like family.
Whenever a sporadic tiff occurs between me and another family member, I'll often squawk something like "I sure as hell like g-g-g uncle George better than you!"

That elicits a puzzled look, then "but he's been dead a hundred years!?"

Me: "damned straight! that makes him easier to get along with!"

I will never really "know" those people enough to judge them; I certainly wasn't around to observe their day-to-day life and interactions with other people; but I agree that it is easy develop an emotional connection.

Researchers get a chance to look at their lives as a whole. Knowing that my g-g-g-g grandmother lost her father when she was a child, was absorbed into another (apparently caring) family when her mother remarried, but married and gave birth to 10 children, only seeing four grow to adulthood, creates a very sympathetic picture. Three of those children died within the span of one year; in the next few years, the family relocated to another state. It paints a picture of a grieving group of people trying to leave the sadness behind. Worse was the loss of another child in that location. Unlike today, the bulwark of support would have come from family and, perhaps, church. I have a lot of admiration for the people who endured those losses, yet picked up, moved back to their original home place, and continued with their lives. I don't know how many people today would have that kind of fortitude.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:07 PM
 
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for me it is getting to know family. perhaps long gone but family none the less
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