Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Started the Family History Ball Rolling?

There are as many reasons as stars in the sky for a person to dive into family history research, or for a writer to be compelled to express him or herself. We blog about genealogy and family history not just because of the love of the hunt and a need to imagine and divulge the past, but also out of an urge to share, and also for many, an urge to write.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided this was something you wanted to do, or were compelled to do? When did it become clear that the web of genealogy, family history, and writing was your calling?

Did someone else instigate it?

Was it something you read?

Was there a certain discovery that piqued your interest?

...Did the Devil make you do it?

About seven or eight years ago, my head suddenly became filled with questions about my mother's Norwegian-American family. Where did they come from in Norway? Who came before my grandfather and his nine great aunts and uncles? Those questions, and a hundred others suddenly reared up, and time was of the essence.

I sent a letter to an older cousin who I thought would have a few answers, and he did. But there was so much more to find out. So, I began what I thought would be a joint project to collect information and photographs. But, early on in my quest, after standing at a photocopier for a solid half-hour, I realized just how quickly I had arranged several interlibrary loans and tracked down multiple books and articles to read. My head was spinning with everything I knew had to be done, and I wondered if anyone else could keep up with the pace I had already set for myself. It hit me with a shudder that I had to accept the responsibility for finding out and collecting what I wanted to know.

Accept, I did, and I haven't looked back (figuratively, of course) ever since.

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