Genealogy Buffs: It Gets Into Your Blood

An article by Rob Shapard in The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), reinforces what most of already know: genealogy is addictive.

From the article:

As the years tick by, the drive that Orange County resident Louis Freeland feels to learn about his family’s past grows stronger.

Freeland, 70, has learned a great deal about that history, which includes the settling in Orange of members of the Freeland, Strayhorn, Kirkland and Craig families around 1740. Going back further, the roots of his family tree reach Ireland and Scotland, and the Scots-Irish immigrants that included his ancestors.

But he’s never really satisfied, and genealogy is more than a hobby for him.

“It’s addictive,” Freeland said Saturday. “It’s hard to get quit, once you get started.

“What it is, is a puzzle, and you’re just trying to find the next piece,” he said. “Some things, you’ll never find out.”

I’ve been paying attention to genealogy in the news for years, clipping out newspapers, or passing around articles in email to friends and relatives, and it seems like this year has seen an increase in genealogy coverage. I can’t quantify it – I can’t say there were X number of stories in 1995, X number of stories in 2000, and X number of stories in 2005. I’m sure some of the large genealogy sites could easily prove or disapprove my belief (even as simple as “there was a 20% increase in subscriptions from last year”), so I’ll have to poke around and see if any sites are doing that – you’d think it would a bragging right if they keep growing their subscriptions. Actually, their financial statements should just as easily prove my theory.

Back to what I was saying, it’s just interesting that whereas in the past, genealogy stories were few and far between, now you hearing the media report on genealogy conferences, local gatherings, interviewing regular people as well as celebrities (and in the UK, it’s being driven by a TV show). It’s definitely not a bad thing.

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