I like traipsing through graveyards.
Yes. You read that right. I like traipsing through graveyards. But don’t worry. It’s not creepy. It’s only certain graveyards. And it’s just part of my semi-obsession with genealogy.
I don’t remember exactly when I first became interested in genealogy, but I can tell you where my interest came from.
My mother’s father grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. It’s an area that was very anti-government. Most people in that area were poorly educated. And records weren’t kept very well.
For an example of their stunning record keeping — my grandfather had a delayed birth certificate made (instead of having one issued when it was born). And, it has his birth date wrong. By several years. Which was actually done on purpose, because they were trying to keep him from being drafted for Korea (that’s the whole anti-government thing at work… but they didn’t succeed). And just because it’s a neat fact — I want to also add that the “city” listed on my grandfather’s birth certificate is now under a lake.
My mom remembers taking trips to North Carolina when she was little to visit her dad’s family, but she never knew her grandparents. My grandfather’s mom died before my mom was born, and his dad died shortly after my mom turned one.
My mom doesn’t remember her dad ever talking about his dad very often. In fact, she doesn’t recall him ever being referred to as anything other than “Old Man Ammons.” That’s all we knew. We knew nothing about his parents or where he came from. It was a complete mystery. My mom had no idea what her heritage was beyond there.
And that’s what’s sparked my interest in genealogy.
I wanted to find out WHO he (my great-grandfather) was. I wanted to find out his name. I wanted to know his birthday and his parents and if he had siblings and where that family line lead too. (Spoiler: I found all that out!)
But, in the process of trying to figure out how to find out who my great-grandfather was, we would often stop at random graveyards around the area. We’d walk through, looking at tombstones. If we ever found a tombstone with the family name on it, it instantly became “I wonder if we’re related?!”
I highly suggest genealogy as a hobby for anyone that is interested in where their family came from and what their roots are. The amount of information that exists and the kinds of things you can find are absolutely mind-blowing.
However, I also feel the need to add the disclaimer that genealogy can become very addictive, and that it can be a very expensive and time-consuming hobby. And it can be VERY frustrating when you hit dead-ends.
But knowing what I know about my ancestors, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve seen on it for anything. I love every second of it!
So what about you? Is genealogy a hobby of yours? If so, what kinda of interesting things have you discovered about your family? And if you’ve never done any genealogy research, is it something that you’re interested in? Would you be interested in a post with tips on how to get started and what kinds of resources exist for doing research? Let me know in the comments below!