Friday, October 17, 2008

Hmmm, when did it all start?

I think it's safe to say that I love working on my family's genealogy. I love going to libraries, cemeteries, historical societies, genealogical societies, archives, and much more. I admit I am sometimes obsessed with knocking down one of my many brickwalls. And, when I feel I am getting close to finding an answer--watch out, it gets even worse. Do you remember what specifically spiked your interest in your family history? I do.
In 1998, my cousin Terry and I were driving to Indiana. We were going to the cemetery where our grandmother Lucy was buried. Somehow we got on the subject of our great grandparents Bert and Eva Hanaway. Neither of us knew them, we were babies when they passed away. But, we grew up attending the annual Hanaway reunion in July. It was a once a year event where we gathered and celebrated Bert and Eva's lives. Aunts, uncles and cousins came from all over Illinois, Indiana and Michigan to join in the celebration. We starting counting how many grandchildren Bert and Eva had and came up with a number around 40. Then we wondered how many great grandchildren they had. We would be included in that number. We estimated around 100. We tried naming all the grandchildren-which wasn't too hard because that was our parents generation and we knew all of our parents first cousins. We tried counting how many children each cousin had. Of course, we couldn't keep that number straight. Who had nine children, who had eight? Who were we missing? We ran into a tangled mess. That was when I knew I needed to KNOW! That was my defining moment. I wanted to know -where I did I fall in the number of great grandchildren? I wanted to know Bert and Eva's parents' names. Where did they live? How many children did they have? Where were are all of my other relatives....not just my Hanaway aunts, uncles and cousins?
Months later, after many questionnaires were sent and returned and many more phone calls were made, Terry and I were amazed to discover that Bert and Eva had over 150 great grandchildren!
So, here is a question for you remember when you KNEW you needed to KNOW about your family history? What happened that sparked your interest to the point that you had to know? Was it a story from a relative? Was it the loss of a loved one or a notation in their family bible? Was it an heirloom you inherited? When did you KNOW that you needed to find out more information about your family history?

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The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!