Today's writing prompt from BlogHer asks if I am interested in genealogy (YES!) and if I have a family tree constructed (YES!). As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I first got involved in genealogy back in 1989. My mom and dad had stopped by our house on their drive from Cincinnati to Boulder to see my brother. My mom handed me a hand-written family tree on her side of the family, put together by one of my cousins. We talked briefly about the tree, and I set it to the side. On their way back from Colorado my folks were involved in a horrific car accident in the middle of Kansas. My mom was killed instantly and my dad was taken to a hospital in Hays, Kansas in critical condition. My mom was only 69 years old at the time. I was 32, and thought I would have much more time with my beloved mother.
Months later I pulled out the family tree and I recognized for perhaps the first time that my older family members would not be around forever. So I began asking questions about my grandparents and their siblings, finally enjoying the stories being told instead of rolling my eyes as I had done when I was younger. As my tree began to grow, so did the pile of notes and papers I was collecting. I needed a better way to organize my research.
Becoming interested in genealogy began through a tragic event in my family. But it has ended in a love and appreciation of family history, and an enjoyable hobby to boot.