Sunday, February 23, 2014

How I Got Started in Genealogy

This is the topic I used to get the ball rolling in the NGGN Writers' Group: How did you get started in genealogy?

For me, an interest in genealogy began when I was about 12-years-old. My parents divorced when I was quite young (around 3 or 4), and I didn't see my mother after that. So of course I was intrigued about my family! I started with my father's side, collecting what information I could. Fortunately, my dad had names for my grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents on my mother's side.

But what really drew me in was a large leather wallet my paternal grandmother had. It was full of documents and typed-up genealogies done by her maternal uncle, Erwin Blake, relevant to our Blake ancestors in Wrentham, MA. There were also a couple photographs of the Blake family.

When I was about 18 or so, I asked my grandmother for the leather wallet, and she allowed me to have it. I made sure to photocopy all the photographs and documents, just for safety's sake. I donated many of the original documents (mostly deeds and Civil War documents) to NEHGS, since I knew they had the technology to preserve them, and gave my paternal aunt the original photographs. As technology evolved, we also made sure to scan everything too.

Of course, I've built a much larger family picture over the years with my research, but it was an absent parent and some yellowed papers and photographs that piqued my adolescent curiosity.

What about you?


Copyright (c) 2014 Wendy L. Callahan

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