Genealogy Junkie

by Janet Curley


If we are to carry the metaphor of addiction one step further, not only am I addicted, but I am also a dealer, a pusher…If there is any glimmer of excitement about genealogy in someone I am talking to, I dangle all sorts of freebies in front of them as well as stories of my successes. Of course, I don’t tell them of the hours of tedious microfiche and internet scrolling, cold and dreary days walking by headstones, unheeded letters to overwhelmed city clerks…. No! There are the discoveries of 130 year old letters! New relatives in distant corners of the land! Connections to history! Travels to exotic countries like Canada and Ireland!

One such convert is my friend Linda. I cautiously mentioned my research to Linda one day. (I am always steeled against the possible yawn in response, but this was not the case with her) She immediately took the bait. Not only was she excited, but she immediately turned to her computer and I showed her the various websites that would open up this new world to her. Next thing you know, we have a date to come over my house. Poor lamb…

Linda arrives with a boxful of photographs and documents that she has inherited from relatives. The addiction is instantaneous – like a dose of pure heroin. We get on and FamilySearch and GenealogyBank. We make discoveries that deepen her crazed search for clues. The next week I see her and she shows me her new family tree and points on the map where her German ancestors are from. She is making plans to travel there in the summer. She has fallen fast. Hooked!!

She is now my genealogy junkie barfly friend. This week we are off to the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium Conference in NH. Genealogy is a solitary task most days. But when you have another junkie by your side, the cemeteries are not so creepy, the city clerk, not so intimidating, and the internet, not so lonely. We are a pair of sleuths discovering buried history!!

Who will be my next victim?


9 thoughts on “Genealogy Junkie

  1. Seriously laughing out loud with this one. Brilliant!!!!!!! Please write a book! This is written better than most books.

  2. Awesome!! I love to do research and drawn others to the “dark side”. I’ve put my blog and research aside for a few years to finish my degree in history. Five more weeks and I’m free to pursue my addiction!!

  3. Janet, I certainly can relate…although I’d prefer using a slightly more sanitized term than “addiction.” It is fun finding a partner in pursuing these clues, though–especially in small, deserted, remote cemeteries! It is equally as inspiring to meet up with another researcher already smitten by the bug, and realize that you could have talked for hours to someone who was just a total stranger only moments before. I imagine you’ll come back from NERGCC with many such experiences. Yes, there is a lot of “solitary confinement” in researching one’s roots…but you can’t beat the camaraderie when two or more like-minded researchers get together!

    I found your blog today, thanks to GeneaBloggers. You’ll find that group ripe for instant friendships, too! We are definitely all on the same page…

    • I hope you find a lamb to follow you… Linda was great fun to bring to the conference! Together we were able to connect with people who jump started our research. And we tried every Irish pub in Manchester…

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