I love this question.
Why did you start doing genealogy research?
This is a question I am not asked much any longer, because I converse with people who are also frantically researching. But finding your beginning is an important note, to yourself, to conversation, and just to keep in your heart….
My genealogy class was primarily made of “seniors”, as though this is the only generation interested; as though something changes in you when you become older. Which I do believe is true… but Why Not be interested when you’re younger?
Why did I become interested at 17? Just because I like math and puzzles? Or History?
Well… probably all of the above.
But… why me? Why not a cousin of mine before me? What were they doing that made them.. NOT interested?
I’ve been considering this a lot recently, now that I’m teaching genealogical research.
I started because…
my father told me, when I was 17, that my brothers and I were the last of the Loops name. It was all he knew.
I did a quick internet search (such at the beginning of the internet) and found others who shared the same name. 22 of them! 22 whole people in the U.S. with our last name LOOPS, and only 4 being US. I had to explore.
But, it was so much more. It was that, my father didn’t know… his father hadn’t told him (or didn’t know enough himself to share). There was no story to our family. We were made up of generations who lived their lives and weren’t curious. And my father, sometime in his 40s was totally accepting of this, that he was the only person left with the LOOPS name – cause his Uncle Frank had only daughters.
This… is fascinating. That I quickly became an anthropologist in school and study, tied right into my interest in how a family could become so isolated, so removed from their history, and really not care so much. The family stories were just… nill. Left to the few gatherings when the slides would come out about “life in the 40s”.
I suppose there were elements of ME… that I was a child of divorce, so learning about your family became really important. And also that my mother seemed to know much more about her family than my father did about his. Perhaps I had some tugging strings, both ways.
Where are we from?
It is a fascinating question. Why do we continually search for it? Do we find solace in the answers? I do, a bit. And that I’m interested in History in itself… I love to learn about people in the 1600s who’d just moved to America because they were fighting something in England and ventured across the Frontier and landed in California. OMG… this is the stuffs of movies! 🙂
My question is… do you remember where it all started for you? How did this “happen”, this interest, this drive to learn and research.