It started with my Dad who for years has always wanted to know more about his family. He never really knew his father's siblings and therefore knew nothing of any cousins or ancestors. As his father was 50 years old when my Dad was born, most of my Grandfather's siblings had left Jamaica for the US by the time my Dad was a teen.
In 1992 one of my Dad's older cousins passed away. He was a first cousin, 37 years my Dad's senior. He was a well loved larger than life character and many attended his funeral. This was one of few funeral's I had attended in my life and I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to encounter so many relatives I never knew! It was more like a celebration of life and family. At the reception I spend my time socializing and getting contact information for everyone. We all thought "wouldn't it be a great idea to have a family reunion?".
Well needless to say those were the days of snail mail and long distance calling was a luxury! So, we never really followed up with each other and a reunion never happen.
Over the years Dad continued to gather bits and pieces of family info with my sister doing research when she could. Dad even purchased Family Tree Maker (FTM) software to store his findings. Fast forward 18 years. . . . . Dad buys a new computer he can't get the old version of FTM to work. So I told him that with the age of technology there are like lots of programs available on line. What an understatement!
Taking the notes that my Dad had accumulated I started with "MyHeritage.com". In the beginning I used their Family Tree Builder (FTB) program and still do as my primary off-line database. In no time I was up to 250 family members!
I then decided to see what all the "Ancestry.com" hype was about. I started entering my info into the program under a 14 Day Trial. In one day, I had "hits" to three family members I never knew existed, descendants of a few of my Dad's Uncles. These connections led me to look for documents supporting the migration of these ancestors lives. I was hooked!
I became fascinated with the old documents, birth registrations, ship manifests etc. I then realized that I needed context. I needed to travel back in time and gain an understanding of what my ancestors lives were like and where they lived. This lead me to start reading history and geography books and collecting maps.
Wow, I have learned so much! Not just about my own family but about cultures, medical conditions, geography, history, politics and so much more.
Genealogy can be just about finding your ancestors and living relatives or your journey can take you back in time and across oceans! It's up to you.