When asked by non-genealogists why I am interested in family history, I never really know how to answer in a way that they will understand. There are many facets to my interest (obsession?).
I’m interested in the lives of my grandparents and great-grandparents generations because I can see the direct impact that their choices, their personalities and their life experiences had on my own life. I’m interested in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins I meet during my research because I find it fascinating how different branches of the family were affected differently by the same ancestors and how their lives went down a very different path from mine. And I confess, I’m also just drawn to solving the puzzle.
Genealogy is like trying to put together a jigsaw where the pieces can be scattered all over the world and hidden in the most unlikely places. After assembling as much disparate positive and negative evidence as we can locate, we attempt to solve the riddles of the past by applying logic, judgement and reason. We can never know absolutely that we are correct in our theories since there can always be yet another piece of evidence that has eluded us, that, when uncovered, requires a total re-evaluation of what we thought before.
Of course, all of that is pretty deep stuff. So when asked, I usually just say “because I like history and puzzles.”
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