I have learned so much just by checking the facts in articles, selecting reader tips and organizing back issue content. I would find myself engrossed in an article about the windfall of genealogy information that can be found in religious records or cemeteries, when I should have only been checking to make sure the links in those articles worked. I have a greater understanding of history and how it affects looking for my ancestors.
I never thought learning about genealogy and my family history would be so exciting, so enlightening, so entertaining or so addicting. Every article I worked on was like a clue in a giant treasure hunt that lead me down a path to where “x” marked the spot.
Three months ago, I had no idea what my families’ pasts held for me. And while my Kiely and Lehan branches still need lots of research, I have barely even touched the maternal side of my family tree. Completing the search will definitely be a journey that is life long and one that will help me to understand not only where I came from but where I am going.
I really get why “roots mania” has taken hold in America: Genealogy is interesting, fun and a hobby that turns seemingly ordinary people into gen junkies relatively quickly. I can’t go into a thrift store without scanning the names in old Bibles. When I was recently in Washington, D.C., I went to the Smithsonian and saw an old slave register, the first thing coming mind was “Are these names indexed?” I was also upset to learn that the National Archives and Records Administration doesn’t pull records on Saturday, even if they are open.
I can find family histories on GoogleBooks with a few clicks of a mouse and I can use USGenWeb to find a death index for Kentucky that I would have never found before. I can ask – and answer – questions on GenForum. I even created a family tree on FindMyPast.com.
My summer spent here at Family Tree Magazine was certainly a whirlwind and worthwhile experience. Now, just wish me luck on getting by without digital census records on demand.