Family History Fanatics answer questions about their journey to love genealogy.
We all have questions about how to start research or continue your genealogy research but what sparks that initial interest to dive into the crazy world of Ancestry.com and old birth certificates? Our Genealogy For You presenters, Devon and Andrew Lee, shared their stories with us. This is what they had to say:
How did you get into genealogy?
Andrew - I began my adventure in genealogy after winning a writing competition for the American Legion. I had to write about one of my ancestors, and it stuck.
Devon - I have always been interested in genealogy because of the stories my mother told me of my ancestors. When I was a teen, I dabbled in genealogy as best as one can when the archives are a thousand miles away in pre-internet days. As online genealogy grew and I could research with young kids at home, my discoveries increased and so did my addiction!
Why was it important to find out about your family history?
Devon - My parents, brother and I lived a thousand miles away from our nearest relations. Family history brought me closer to those relatives who lived far away. As my parents and grandparents died, family history helped me not feel so alone. Ultimately, family history helped me celebrate the good life has to over and find healing from some of the pain.
Any interesting stories that you have found or debunked through your research?
Andrew - I discovered my 2nd great-grandfather through a combination of traditional genealogical research combined with DNA. As it turns out, we’re not really Lees and we are related to a ‘vampire.’
When it comes to family history research, what would you say is the most important factor for success?
Devon - Preserve the perishable. There are so many genealogical clues hiding in our homes and the minds of our relatives. If we don’t investigate and preserve the papers, photos, possessions, and people first, we can’t climb further, faster up our family tree and have twice as much fun.
Andrew - Persistence. Most of your genealogy problems are not going to be solved in one hour, one day, or even one year. My 2nd great-grandfather’s case took four decades to crack. Persistence pays.
How can knowing your family history benefit you today?
Family history strengthens family ties. Think of the characters Moana, Manolo, and Mulan - two didn’t know their true family history and they felt like a misfit. However, Mulan knew about her ancestors and wanted to make them proud. When each character realized their family tree was full of nuts, they didn’t feel so different and then their sense of belonging increased. Many adults and youth today can find meaning and connections through family history.
What can an attendee of the upcoming conference expect to gain from the seminars?
Knowledge and excitement. Andy and Devon Noel pack their seminars with information that you can take action on as soon as you leave the conference. And we try to have a lot of fun while we’re at it. If family history isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong.
You can hear more from Devon and Andrew Lee at the Genealogy For You Conference on March 10th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Bob Herzfeld Memorial Library in Benton. You can view more details and register for the class here.