We posted the above question to the EasyGenie Facebook group, and within a few hours had dozens of responses. We won't reveal the breakdown of the responses, but what was most interesting to us were the people who described how they got started. Here's what they said:
"My Aunt had started doing research and before she passed away she asked if I wanted or would continue. I said yes. I was very honored. Her children had no interest."
"I saw the TV show Roots. I got interested in my family. I asked my mom, aunts and cousins so many questions and have many cousin since that we eventually had a family reunion."
"It started with a 5th grade social studies unit on immigration. We were asked to make a family tree… and I’ve been at it ever since!"
"Under 18 because my parents used to take my brother and me to cemeteries when we were kids and say this is your great-grandparent or whoever was buried there."
"when my maternal grandmother passed and in the back of hall closet were 6 handwritten genealogy scrolls that went together. She did not do them, last entry was my mother. Still don't know who did them..."
One of the most touching stories was this one:
"I was 10 in February and asked my Dad about who was who in my family. He was just coming home from his brother’s funeral. We started doing a family tree but we added one person per week so he could give me their stories. I wrote down the stories in an old B&W composition book so we had them. My Dad passed away that December and one of the ways I coped was to ask my Uncle to give me the stories about my Dad as a child. I’ve been hooked ever since."
You are welcome to leave your own story on the EasyGenie Facebook thread.
Another commenter expressed regret about not having interviewed older family members. Our response: It's never too late to ask older members, even if they are the same generation.
For instance, last summer Ian chatted with a cousin just 10 years older who knew information about their grandfather that Ian had never heard before. Nicole's younger brother knows more about the paternal ancestry of their family after accompanying their late father on many trips to his home country.
You don't need to see a relative in person to ask about family stories or other recollections. Around this time of year, many families place long-distance calls to aunts and siblings and cousins. It's a great opportunity to reminisce, trade stories, and extend your family tree.