I don't remember exactly how or why, but I had picked up some old papers one day that detailed a few events of my grandfather's early life and his family. Just a few tidbits really. But looking at that information, seeing the names of people I had never known - the reality hit me that these people were my family, flesh and blood relatives of mine, a real part of me.
And that's when it happened.
Somehow I had become fascinated...completely obsessed with all things related to my relatives. The dead ones. Who does that?
It wasn't just about trying to find old family photos, and talking to family members about what they remember, suddenly cemeteries became as much fun to me as an amusement park. And libraries? Libraries are a WONDERFUL place! Just point me to the closest microfilm machine please. I've never been in trouble with the law, but I've spent more than my fair share of time in county courthouses - looking up deeds, and last will and testaments from their dusty, long-forgotten shelves. I've travelled hours (HOURS!) to meet a cousin who I'd never met before in my life, and I cried at the grave of my 5th great-grandfather the first time I visited his resting place on a country hillside cemetery.
Five years of googling, digging, and recording. Five years of late nights with way too much chocolate and Mt. Dew while finding "just one more" family member on the U.S. Federal Census. Five years of wondering where on God's green earth my great-great-great grandfather Parrish could have possibly come from since I can't find him!
Yes...I'm a little obsessive compulsive over this "hobby".