My Passion for Genealogy and Family History
This obsession, and yes it is an obsession, is both intriguing and revealing about my ancestors and myself. Besides a tendency to be obsessive (I call it passion for my hobby) I can add to that, tenacity and a very curious nature – some may say nosey, I couldn’t possibly comment.
It all started in 1987 when my husband’s paternal Grandma gave me some original certificates. I had messed around before this but those certificates gave me the push to really start exploring the past. In 1990 I was made redundant and had a little more time to visit record offices and libraries. In the August of the same year I visited St Catherine’s House (formerly Television House) the home for UK’s references to Birth Marriages and Deaths until the late 1990’s.
After two days of lifting the heavy ledgers off the shelves (No such fun to be had today) I ordered 23 certificates at £5 each (currently £9.25). After which my husband asked the question “How much is your new hobby going to cost!” The truth is over the years – well I hate to think, the fuel, the hotel stays, subscriptions, magazines, the visits to churches and church yards, villages, and of course TIME pouring over documents, entering information on to a computer , – well you get the picture. When I first started everything was written out by hand – I shudder at that now.
When I moved to a new house some 11 years ago in a mad moment I drew (in permanent marker) my family tree on my office wall. It takes up the whole wall but it has proved to be a very good aide memoir. It will be a sad day when I move house and have to paint over it – several coats I suspect.
It’s been a fascinating journey and I have loved most of it – not sure my late Mother was over the moon when I found out her parents didn’t get married until she was 4. But there were extenuating circumstances.
I have found knowing where my ancestors were born, where and how they lived, what they did for an occupation, have all helped me to understand my heritage.
My Mother being an only child and with my only sibling dying at a young age I have become the custodian of all my maternal family archives. It is a great privilege and a responsibility too.
The internet has made a huge difference to my research but beware it is also very easy to make mistakes. However on the plus side it has saved me hours of travel and I am now able to do a lot of research in a comfy chair with a hot mug of coffee to hand.
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Genealogy v Family History
Genealogy is the pursuit of the next ancestor aiming to get as far back as possible
Family History is to add stories to the names together with historical facts.
I started with Genealogy but I now pursue family history. But if any one asks I consider myself to be a genealogist. In recent years the two have been amalgamated on Wikipedia. https://familysearch.org/blog