Who or What Sparked Your Enthusiasm for Genealogy?
I'm not really sure what I thought when I first decided to see if I could find additional information for her, but I certainly didn't dream that I'd develop the passion and enthusiasm for genealogical research that I did. I was living in a city that had one of the top ten genealogical library collections in the country at the time. History had always been my favorite subject in school, even though I didn't major in it in college. I think I thought I'd find the answers for her and move on with my life. What happened is that I quickly became so engrossed in the study of my family that I moved from one line to another too quickly, a bad habit of many beginning genealogists.
I also made the mistake of beginning with poor genealogical software. This was back in the days of smaller hard drives and 5 1/4 inch floppy disks. I had a freeware program that allowed the input of basic information and 10 lines for notes. I was an academic and realized that I needed to cite my sources, but how could one do that properly in 10 fixed-width lines? I also had many other things I wished to include in the notes. I developed a short-hand for my sources, but the truth was that I had to go back to paper copies of notes for many of them. Even today I still come across old entries in my genealogical database that I have to fix as I discover them and as time permits.
I'm sure I also made other errors when I first began my genealogical research. I know that I jumped to a few conclusions about who an ancestor's parent might be before I had really performed that "reasonably exhaustive search" that standards require. In fact, there are probably things out on the Internet that I posted long ago (as recently as 9 or 10 years ago) that I would cringe to discover now. I've made the observation to other genealogists that I wish I had time to go back and review the data and conclusions on each of those lines. I never seem to have time to work on my own families any more. That's okay though, because I've discovered a lot of families that are much more interesting than my own in the process. I know one genealogist that sets aside a few hours each weekend to work on her own families. Maybe one of these days I can budget that time for myself but since I still have a regular job, the weekend is my only time to do a lot of things, and I'm very involved with church activities which takes most of Sunday.
I spent last night working with a most interesting church record from the 1820s. It was a case of church discipline. I hope to one day take the research plan I developed and turn this one into a full-fledged article for publication. This person definitely broke several of the ten commandments!
I'm glad that my mother was curious about her family. If she had not been, I may have never discovered the wonderful world of family history and genealogical research.
Who or what sparked your enthusiasm? Feel free to comment here or leave a link to your own blog post sharing the answer to that question.