Thursday, June 18, 2009

What Infects Someone with the Genealogy Bug...

What causes someone to want to spend hours in a dusty old courthouse pouring through book after book of marriages or court cases? What gets that person to walk through waist-high weeds to find an old fieldstone marker? What causes another person to drive hundreds of miles just to take a photograph?  Genealogy. but what is it that gets us started? What begins that lifelong search for more and more information?

For me, it was three things:

The first was an absolute obsession with anything relating to Daniel Boone.  Fess Parker. Coonskin cap.  That's what started it, but, as things go, I wanted to find more. I went to the library as a little girl and checked out a book on his wife, Rebecca, at least 30 times. Do you remember the old checkout cards in the back of the book? You would sign your name, the librarian would replace that card with a card that had stamped dates to tell you when your book was due back. Yeah, that signature card had my name only on the front and back. I remember telling my adoptive mother that I wanted to go to Boonesboro for my honeymoon the day i found there was a state park there.

The second was a family story. My adoptive mother passed down to me that there was a rumor she was related to the Howland family that came over on the Mayflower. She didn't have any proof, just that story.

The third was being reunited with my birth family at the age of 30. That ignited the fire that had been burning since i was a child.

Through research, I found my adoptive mother's story was true. She wasn't a direct descendant of John Howland, but of his brother, Henry. Boonesboro, Kentucky? It was the center of one branch of my birth family. The rest were just southeast of it. There were ancestors who knew him. and my unexplained lifelong love of the Applachian mountains? I found that's the land of my ancestors. That was "home" for nearly 200 years.

Did they welcome me? Did the old ones guide me back? That's a story for another time.

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