Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Inspiration!

It's Saturday Night again, so it's time for some Genealogy Fun. Let's wax nostalgic for a minute.

Here's the question: What event or person inspired you to start your genealogy research?

Please write a blog post, or post a comment to this blog post, with your answer.

For me, it was twofold. Unlike many researchers, I did not read the book Roots by Alex Haley until about 1986. If I had known that I would find a lifelong interest like genealogy, I would have read it when it was first published, in what, 1977? Who knew!

My second inspiration was my aunts and uncle. There were all of the family stories floating around after we visited New England in 1982, and then my father died in 1983. I might say that his death was the catalyst for starting genealogy research, but the truth is I didn't start until 1988. But I thought about it some, and then when I finally read Roots it still took over a year to get going. But once I started, I haven't stopped and I think my aunts and uncle, and all my cousins, are glad that I have worked 21 years on it.

So I have a special spot in my brain for Alex Haley, and in my heart for Ed, Ruth, Marion, Evelyn and Gerry. And Dad too.


Anonymous said...

Had a great time doing the Saturday Night Fun. Here is the link to my post:

Tina Sansone

Jean Hibben said...

Writing from Raleigh, NC, sharing a room with Barbara Renick & Beth McCarty (O/C FHC) so we are taking a poll on this question.
As for me, I would say that my grand-mother-in-law was a beginning of serious research ... she was very proud of her lineage back to Roger Williams (R.I.) and talked up a genealogy storm. My mother was also very encouraging, collecting stories and information and carefully passing along that and the contact information for everyone she knew that was related to us ... she was more an enabler than an inspiration, but without her I would have had a much harder time.
Barbara Renick says that she had several great history teachers in jr. high & high school who made the history come alive and give the reasons behind actions. So the looking at the "why" in genealogy came from that.
Beth McCarty took a genealogy unit in seminary class (Mormon high school classes taken usually in early morning). She had to do her pedigree chart and submit it and that inspired her. Later she asked her grandmother-in-law for genealogy information and her lack of organized information inspired Beth. Later she learned that there was a whole family lineal organization on the line, but by then, Beth was hooked!

So there you have it from 3 tired researchers at the NGS conference in NC. Cheers!

owlhart said...

What a coincidence. For me, it was my grandfather, Arthur Lofland Hart. Arthur did a lot of research on the paternal Hart line in the 1970’s, much by traveling and visiting courthouses. Just yesterday, I visited his gravestone, and thanked him for the work he had done!

In 1999, I obtained a typewritten summary of his research, complete with birth dates, marriage dates, and death dates for all Hart ancestors and their siblings, going three generations back from my grandfather. After looking at it, I thought, “This is important information. It needs to be preserved.” I found another Hart researcher online, and traded information. However, at the time my children needed my attention, and I put the research on a shelf.

In Oct 2008, I got the genealogy itch again, and with a little more free time, have gone headfirst into the research. In those 7 months, I’ve gathered a lot more information on a lot more people than my grandfather did. However, I bet I haven’t expended near the time and energy he did in the information that he gathered. The foundation that he laid with his research has made it possible for me to continue what he started. My hat is off to Arthur Lofland Hart, whose own father died when Arthur was only three years old. I never had a chance to ask him, but I wonder if growing up without a father was his inspiration to begin his own research.

Keith Hart
Thousand Oaks, CA

Kelly said...

Wishing I was at NGS, I'll answer from rainy Ohio!
My Grandmother had dabbled in research. She was always telling stories about the family and hooked me young. It wasn't until college when I had an assignment to fill out a pedigree chart, that I found a love of genealogy research, digging up info on the family!
Kelly Holderbaum

Karen Harrington said...

Just came over from Creative Gene and discovered your site. :)
I actually wrote a post about this subject a few weeks back that I thought I'd share. I write about a letter handed down in my family which, in effect, put the family history bug in me.

Here's the blog post. browse around your site.

Unknown said...

Writing from the woods of East Tennessee I have to say that my inspiration and catalyst was the discovery of over 300 antique/vintage/one of a kind pictures of my mother's parents, grandparents and just about every other person in our small rural community dating back as far as I can tell into the early 1800's. I'm still working all that out. My grandmother was just the collection point for all the family pictures and when she died none of her kids took the time to look into her trunks and cabinets. I got the chance to do so for about an hour one night and brought home more riches than I think a hunk of gold would have brought me.
I started with a family picture of my 3 greats Grandparents + family and have worked out almost 200 names in as little as 4 weeks. I have the bug, the disease, the addiction and the love and I'm not stopping until every last picture is scanned, identified, documented and preserved for my kids and their kids and so on!

Cindy said...

Thanks for this one Randy - love that feeling I get thinking about what got me started! here's the link to my post.

Patti Hobbs said...

theKiwi said...
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theKiwi said...

Mary said...

This certainly did take me back...I hvae really enjoyed the comments. Thanks for the inspiration, Randy

QuiltinLibraryLady said...

First time I've done your Saturday night fun question. Here's the link:

Claudia said...

For once I am in time for a Saturday Night Event. At least I hope I am..


Jessica's thoughts said...

Hi Randy,

Here's the link to my post:


David said...

About ten years ago, on a message board about music, someone made a comment about genealogy. That comment and a product review about some genealogy software and different useful web sites on a television program are what spurred me.

I had always had some interest, but I never did anything about it. And even though these two "events" triggered me to begin researching, it was probably another year or so before I really got serious about it.

Unknown said...

I wanted to watch when the Roots mini series came on television but it was my first quarter in college and I decided if I blew studying for this, I would find excuses to blow studying for many other reasons. I had not heard of the book and didn't watch the show.

The story behind my genealogy start goes back to 2002 during planning of Jerry's & Diane's (my son & daughter-in-law) wedding. Diane's father, Roy, was deceased when Diane & Jerry married. I can tell Diane loved her father so much, she spoke of him often. So to honor Roy, Diane chose to walk down the aisle alone and to be not given away by a living person. Also as a tribute to Roy, along with all the other deceased relatives who couldn't come to the wedding in body, Diane decided to have a table display of pictures. The pictures were of folks to show how many were attending in spirit. The only living souls' pictures on the table were those of Diane and Jerry when they were younger.

I'm sure I heard of the plan to do this table tribute before that but in late March is when I can put a date to the plan of this table. I called family members to tell them to "bring pictures". One of the family contacts I made to bring pictures was to my cousin Franny. Fran mailed some pictures ahead and one of them was an old picture of a couple that I had never seen. I was fascinated by this couple and asked her who are these people? Who ARE These People??? This couple turned out to be my great grandparents. I had other flighting interests before planning the wedding but the realization that I would get descendants and they wouldn't know me if I died tomorrow is what really got me going.

TCasteel said...

I had already done a similar posting but I then remembered my first experience learning about a neighbors family tree so I included Beatrice as one of my inpirations at "Inspirations x 2"

M. Diane Rogers said...

I am very late chiming in here - but I was away - 'doing' history. Great idea for a topic, Randy. I believe I owe my interest in genealogy and family history and in Canadian history and photographs too to both my mum and her mum, my 'Na'. They talked about history a lot and got me researching a bit early on - maybe to keep me busy and out of their hair!
Shade of the Departed - guest author M. Diane Rogers

Ms. Aisha said...

Here's my post. Thanks, that was fun! Almost made me cry!