How I Got the “Bug”

The knack or inclination to do genealogical research is often referred to as the “genealogy bug.”  Mine caught when I was a senior in college, in 2008.  I was finishing up my B.A. in History and getting ready to head to law school in the fall.  I loved my major, and researching American history got me thinking about my own family history.   I vaguely knew about some of my ancestors through stories which were passed down like a game of telephone, but knew almost nothing concretely and had no documents or sources to back that information up.   I learned all about the importance of primary documents in my college history courses, and I felt compelled to confirm my family’s history through concrete sourcing.

So, I ponied up the dough and bought a subscription to  Sifting through those old records, trying to decipher handwriting on an 1880 census, discovering details about my ancestors…I felt like a detective, or a genealogical version of Indiana Jones.   I was hooked!

Of course, I made some mistakes along the way.  I added every little “hint” (the green leaves that shake and quiver above a person’s name, they really make it too tempting) and merged my tree with any stranger’s who seemed to match my (fairly common) surnames.   I had a relatively easy schedule that final year of college, so I often spent hours in front of my beat-up red laptop, digging around to find more treasured information.  Then, I headed to law school in the fall.

My new life also involved a lot of time in front of a computer, but in a different way.  I was in the library until nearly midnight every night, just trying to survive in the new, intimidating, and seemingly all-consuming world of THE LAW.  Family history and genealogy were the furthest thing from my mind as I chugged more coffee than any human should consume and tried to memorize hundreds of pages of case law.  (I don’t recommend doing either.)  I cancelled my subscription, as my time and money were all invested in graduating from law school.

This brings us to the present day.  I am a working attorney with a fantastic job, a loving husband, an adorable (if wayward) cat, and all the responsibilities that come along with adulthood.   And guess what?  I still have the bug.  I finally have the time again to do the research I love and I have renewed my subscription.   Armed with a brain trained extensively in analytical thinking, research, and never settling for “just a hunch” (thanks, law school!), I am back at it and better than ever.

I have started this blog both to journal my way through this new age of my research and to highlight some of my ancestors.  I also hope it is a useful and fun tool for other family historians or genealogists, as well as members of my own family who are interested in learning more about what I think of as the Story of Us.

Follow along my journey by clicking Subscribe in the upper right corner, or email me at  Happy hunting!


4 thoughts on “How I Got the “Bug”

  1. 5 cats and got the bug in 2007.
    Retired teacher. History major, but taught history only 2 years out of 34.

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