When my first daughter was born, back in 1986, my aunty – my mother’s sister – gave me a gift. It wasn’t your usual gift on the birth of a first baby – it was a bunch of forms and a little book about how to get started researching your family tree, and I think she’d filled in the first few of the forms with some of the information she had discovered in researching her own family history.
It sparked my interest, and for the next seven or so years, I was absorbed, sometimes even obsessed, with discovering my ancestors and the details of their lives.
I was lucky. Many people discover genealogy as a bit of a hobby in their retirement. Many of the people I met through my research were doing just that. They were much older than me and didn’t have to juggle small children and work with their research. But they commented too on how lucky I was. I was meeting people – old people – who had known my grandparents when they were children, or who knew the old people long since deceased, who were otherwise just names on my growing files.
They told me things that unless I wrote them down have been filed away in the depths of my memory. But for many people who come to genealogy in their older years, those opportunities to sit and ask the older people may have long since passed.
I stopped researching my family history at some stage. I had hit a few dead ends and had three children and was just beginning university studies. I just put it away.
But recently, many years later, with my children all fairly well grown, I find myself digging out the old files and card indexes and getting back into it. Many of the old people have gone. What is new, though is the internet.
I have had access to the internet continually since 1995. I have designed websites, learned various programming languages and protocols, and LOVE the internet. But until recently I had not used it for family tree research. I think I had a bit of a go, back in 1995 when I was trying to figure out just exactly what this wonderful new technology could do (apart from share the view from a window in a university in Boston on a snowy January day when it was stinking hot outside my own window).
If you have stumbled in here and stayed long enough to read this – Welcome.
I have installed my family tree at Genes Reunited. If you contact me I will give you permission to view it.