Sometimes even close relatives feel like they don’t have much in common with each other. They have different interests and talents and sometimes can’t even find things to talk about. But as soon as one member of the family gets interested in genealogy, the door is open to One Great Family experience after another.
Not so long ago genealogy was a very expensive undertaking that required more free time than most people had available, but not anymore with use of genealogy software comparison. It often required travel to distant parts of the globe. Normal people with normal lives didn’t even attempt to trace ancestors further back than their grandparents.
Modern technology has made genealogy a hobby that any one can enjoy. People with ordinary families are discovering that their ancestors have stories to tell that are just as exciting as those of the rich and famous. Sometimes they discover their families are the families of the rich and famous.
It usually starts harmlessly enough with somebody asking a question about a grandparent or the relationship between two people in an old photograph. Sometimes it starts when the oldest living relation dies and younger relatives start looking through boxes of old letters and pictures of unidentified but vaguely familiar looking people. Cousins who have not spoken to each other in decades might start asking about birth certificates, marriage licenses and military service records.
Assuming there wasn’t a feud or something unpleasant, the reason the relatives haven’t talked to each other in years is because they don’t have anything to say. If one is a very busy cage fighter and the other is a very busy concert violinist, they might not have much in common. But once they start taking an interest in their common ancestors, they might find they have a lot to talk about.
Two men who are cousins might discover that their parents, who were siblings, wrote letters to each other. Al might be amazed that his cousin Bob has a whole pile of letters stashed away that Al’s dad wrote to Bob’s mom during the war. Al might discover that his dad had powers of observation, a sense of humor or a deeply spiritual side that Al had never been aware of.
Once the cousins realize they have a common interest in their fathers’ experiences in the war, they may become curious about their grandfathers’ service records. They may take an interest in knowing when and how the family arrived in this country. It may become necessary to contact more cousins and find out who has old marriage licenses, property deeds, wills, birth certificates and photographs.
More questions will arise. Documents will be organized and blank spaces will appear. It’s time to start visiting websites.
Relatives who were virtual strangers a few months ago discover they are part of a family that is bigger than either imagined with uise of family genealogy software. They may discover among their ancestors a jazz musician and a classical composer or people who loved music but never had an opportunity to express their passion. What started as casual conversation between cousins became One Great Family review genealogy project.
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