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Genealogy has become the number one hobby in recent times
Column published: 25 April 2007
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

Things have changed a lot since I first started doing my family research. At that time most people thought that it was all rather boring. In fact, if you talked about your esteemed relative who came over on the Mayflower or some other impressive fact they thought you were bragging and were a little full of yourself. It is so nice to find so many people who have been afflicted with the same desire and who are tracing their family lines back into the past.

We also find a lot of changes in the way that people work on tracing their family histories. We find that there are a lot of new researchers in the field and more people are becoming addicted to this hobby every day. This is wonderful because we have the opportunity of finding more and more new cousins each day.

Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, we find many of these individuals believe that they will find everything on the web. I would like to encourage people to keep all of their options open and to make use of all of the tools that we have available to us. I like to take advantage of everything that I can. You will find me sitting at the table in the libraries by day and, unfortunately, I find that I am also burning the midnight oil working on my computer too many nights.

Book Worm
(readum obsessum)
For me, nothing will ever replace that feeling of seeing my ancestor's names leaping off the printed page when I open up a book. Our children have been told that their inheritance is tied up in our library.

We need to be involved with all aspects of genealogy. I encourage people to go to meetings of the genealogical societies in their areas. You may not have any ancestors who came from that area but you will meet people who are sharing the same interests, problems and goals. Attend seminars in your areas or try to attend regional or national seminars. I would like to give you some examples of some great ones that will be coming up soon: Ontario Genealogical Society Seminar in Ottawa in June; and the Federation of Genealogical Societies Seminar in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in August.

Many organizations have weeklong workshops. They can be very helpful in your quest for your family. One example would be the workshop that the Ohio Genealogical Society conducts each summer. They have a limited enrollment and have had researchers attend from all over the United States. This year the workshop will feature nationally known speakers who will cover many topics of interest to Ohio Researchers. The workshop will have problem-solving time after each session and a chance to ask questions of the experts. OGS also announced that the OGS library would be open late Sunday through Thursday evenings only for the workshop participants. I find as a lecturer that this is one of the most enjoyable things that I participate in. We have an opportunity to get acquainted with the participants and have a chance to learn what kind of help that they need to solve their problems.

Regardless of the way that you personally chose to research always remember that it should be joyful. History is made up of people. When we studied history in school we learned about the masses and didn't always realize that our people were also there. They may have had relatively unimportant lives but they contributed to the story of our great nations. We need to learn about them and tell their stories.

Researching your family is challenging and is a very worthwhile pastime. It sharpens the mind, helps us to think logically and puts us in contact with others who share the same addictions and compulsions.

There is absolutely nothing like finding those elusive ancestors.

I have had some nice notes and e-mails from many of you about the articles that have appeared in The Global Gazette. If you are going to be attending the Ontario Genealogical Society Seminar in Ottawa, June 1-3 I would love to have a chance to meet you. I will be spending a lot of time at the Global Genealogy booth so stop by and say hello.

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges

To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles

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