Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Back to the W's

In one of my early contributions to this blog I indicated that I would be writing about the Ws in my initial posts. Well I strayed, I call that Tangential Genealogy. Back on the straight and narrow I am returning to another W word.


Why do I spend hours hunting down dead people - at my keyboard, visiting cemeteries, libraries and archives?

  • I want to know my ancestors which in turn enables me to know who I am.
  • I want to preserve my stories and those of my ancestors for future generations.
  • I love solving problems, coming up with hypotheses and trying to solve them.
  • The thrill of the chase is energising.
  • Solving a riddle or mystery brings on a feeling of euphoria, normally a sedentary soul I find myself doing impromptu genealogy happy dances.
  • I enjoy research, after years working as a librarian I find that I can satisfy this need through genealogy. 
  • As an only child I also like working in isolation, genealogy allows me to do this.
  • I can indulge in lots of genealogy activities from the comfort of my home.
  • Genealogy gives me a focus for some of my travel (although I don't need much encouragement to hop on a 'plane).
  • Genealogy research allows me to connect with distant relatives and, when collaboration ensues, we build up richer pictures of our ancestors.
  • I have always been a bowerbird who collects what others see as ephemera or even rubbish. I am a listmaker, I love to record dates and events. These traits align well with family history activities.
  • Genealogy creates an avenue for me to connect with interesting and interested people all over the world.
  • I like writing, genealogy provides me with fresh fodder for my stories.
  • I love technology and social media, Genealogy provides me with a focus for this interest. 
  • As a social genie geneablogging gives me an outlet to share my journeys with like-minded  people. I may even snare a few cousins along the way.
  • Genealogy is an active pastime that gives the grey matter plenty of exercise.
Until I wrote this post I hadn't considered Why I do Genealogy for a long time, my reasons for 'doing' genealogy have expanded since I started out in 1988. I enjoyed the opportunity this actviity  created for me to reflect.

Why do you spend hours hunting down dead people 


  1. Tick, tick, tick! you've nailed it for me Jill though you suffer from more techno-lust even than I do and I use lists mainly when I'm "under the gun". Thanks for a great post!

  2. Great set of reasons, I concur!

  3. This is a great question as I forgot to go to bed last night after making a huge breakthrough and then utterly confusing myself about 3:00 a.m. sometime in the 1640s! :blush:
    1) It gives me something to talk about with my father when we visit since he has aphasia and can no longer speak
    2) It keeps me out of trouble when my husband is traveling, which his job requires
    3) I love a good mystery, aha moments are my adrenaline rush
    4) I have a curious mind and always enjoy digging for more information (good thing I manage a research team in my professional life)
    5) My husband enjoys helping me on genealogy field trips so it has become a great excuse to take more of them and spend time with him away from my stressful parental situation (don't let anyone tell you end-of-life care is easy)
    6) I very much enjoy "paying it forward" and helping other people solve a family puzzle because I've gotten so much help from others
    7) I LOVE history. Genealogy enables me to spend way too much time reading about it and learning fascinating little things about obscure events
    8) I've met many wonderful people some have become incredibly good friends

  4. great question, and your answers hit home with me. However, I do find at times that these reasons do conflict with everyday life. There are times I have to take a reality check and put aside my desire to sit up all night searching for that little clue that will held be discover a little more about my ancestors, or to sit in for the whole weekend, and just explore on my laptop.

    Also, there are time when other researchers contact me for assistance with a common relative, I do so want to connect and give their request my full attention. I try to do this but at times I feel I don't have the time for a full commitment. Do others experience this?

  5. Schalene, I love your reasons especially number 1. My Mum has dementia but still can rmemeber some things from the past if I show her a photo, makes visiting easier.
    Diane other things distract me from my personal research too but I don't mind because I am to live for a long time so I have many more research years left in me.

  6. Love the lists - I've been reading them going 'yes, yes, yup, me too'.

    I've been wondering how to cram my lovely genealogy into a rather busier working week... Jill, you've got the answer. I'll just live longer. As they say in London, 'sorted'!


Hello, thanks for leaving a comment on the World Wide Genealogy Blog. All comments are moderated because of pesky spammers!

Best wishes
World Wide Genealogy Team