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 Ancestry.com 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?