Thursday, November 10, 2011

Secret (or not-so-secret) passion

 Azre Starr Sackett, husband's 3rd great-grand aunt 
and her husband Augustine Sackett

Reading today's prompt over at NaBloPoMo on BlogHer made me chuckle.

What is your secret (or not-so-secret) passion?

I am certain everyone who knows me (even some who do not) are well aware that genealogy IS my passion. How do you begin to explain something that takes over your life to the point it becomes your main focus.

Family trying to understand why I would spend weekends, vacations and holidays in cemeteries, historical societies and genealogical workshops. Seeing the look on a co-workers face when telling them your ultimate dream to visit the mecca of family records in Utah.

As I have written before this passion began when I was suddenly home alone. The children had left the nest and hubby was working out-of-town Monday through Friday. I felt like Kevin from the movie, except for jumping on beds.

Wandering around the empty house I felt completely out of sorts. Then one night trying to find a new interest I typed in the word "genealogy".

Little did I realize that simple act would lead to a world filled with ancestors, stories, adventure and wonderful friends. In those first months I discovered hubby's Mennonite heritage and my Russian roots. As they say "that was all she wrote!"

Then I found the amazing genealogy community. On Facebook, Twitter and Google+ I discovered accessible people to guide me along this new journey.

People who share this obsession with census records, old photographs, and locating burial sites.

Friends who did not think it strange traveling 250 miles to visit an ancestral home.

As my husband and I did upon discovering this salt-box house in Danbury, Connecticut belonging to Comfort Starr.

Pretty soon I began to find long-lost living relatives. I am chatting with new-found cousins in California, Illinois, Florida and Alaska. Several of these wonderful people have generously shared photographs and family history. In fact I will be meeting one such cousin in person next month.

Not long after beginning this journey I had the good fortune of stumbling upon the website GeneaBloggers. There Thomas MacEntee (genealogy guru extraordinaire) offers a wide array of help to genealogy bloggers.

I was familiar with the concept of blogging through training offered in the workplace. I thought why not give it a try to see where it would lead.

The main goal was to communicate family history to my immediate family. Ever hopeful that my children would share this passion about their lineage.

In the beginning they thought Mom's new hobby was "cute" and occasionally would ask questions. Pretty quickly they lost interest and the glazed eyes syndrome struck.

Thank goodness for making wonderful connections with like-minded researchers! By reaching out to this community I connected with friends who fully share this passion.

Friends who have been wonderful examples for this newbie. People like Marian Pierre-Louis, Heather Rojo, Kathleen Brandt, Caroline Pointer, Amy Coffin and Randy Seaver. From these genealogists I have learned persistence and to keep a sense of humor.

The best advice for someone joining the geneablogger world would be connect with everyone in this accessible community. Come join the fun and learn along the way.

So there is my not-so-secret passion! It keeps me off the streets and my brain in working condition. What is your passion?


  1. Wow, I was reading along, enjoying your wonderful post and all of a sudden there is my name! Thanks so much for listing me with such illustrious bloggers. I am truly humbled!

  2. Ditto! I have the exact same passion. And I'm honored to be mentioned with this group of genealogy friends.

    I'm sure Comfort Starr (love the name) and all of our ancestors are watching over us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Heather & Kathleen,

    You are most welcome! I love reading your blog posts & tweets. Great inspiration and wonderful information. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my posts. Greatly appreciated.