Monday, February 25, 2008

Rootbound in the Hills #1:
22 Sep 1987

by Rocky Macy

A friend of mine has a bumper sticker proudly proclaiming "I'm a Genealogy Bug". She's not alone. Commanding the interest of only the most academic sorts a decade ago, genealogy has rocketed through the ranks to become the third most popular hobby in the country today, trailing only coin and stamp collecting.

What is this "Bug" that is having such a massive impact on the spare time of Americans? Basically, genealogy is the study of family history. Genealogists research family lines, record stories and history, and plot family lineages onto ever-expanding family trees. It is easy to spot these enthusiasts because they generally stoop and squint (from spending long hours bent over the microfiche machines in the library), and they like to pepper their conversations with sporadic references to spicy documents like immigration records and death certificates.

The powers that be of this newspaper have granted me some space to explore genealogy on a local basis. Though admittedly not an expert, I have a decent library of genealogical materials, an adequate knowledge of local sources, and an extensive background of personal root digging. I'll share what I know, and try my best to answer your questions. Anyone who is interested in local or family history is invited to become a regular reader and participate in this column. Please send your queries or comments to me at this newspaper.

Allow me to close with a word of caution: Genealogy, even in small doses, can be highly contagious. BEWARE OF THE BUG!

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