It makes sense to kick off this blog explaining why I’m so passionate about being a professional genealogist. The simplest reason is that I love blending genealogy, psychology, history, and analysis together to solve problems. I think I was born to be a family historian. Since I was a kid, I loved going to cemeteries, imagining lives that were lived, soaking up old family stories and memorizing details. Each story held precious clues to mysteries that *had* to be solved. Where was the house, the school, the store they told me about? I was determined to find these things, and usually did.
Another reason for becoming a professional genealogist is that I’ve found health applications for family history that have changed my life, and I think are worth sharing. My dad died in 2015, before I had a chance to share insights I’d discovered about his family. I felt a deep sense of regret at the time but directed the energy into a renewed fervor for genealogy. Digging into his family history strengthened my connection to him, enhancing old memories and creating new ones. My research took me to places he and other relatives had lived, and gave me a real sense of their day-to-day lives; that connection to ancestors helped me deal with my grief.
One day I created a medical genealogy chart, a family tree focused on illness and causes of death. It sounds morbid, but turned into an extremely valuable exercise. My dad died of colon cancer when he was 76, and I noticed his father also died of colon cancer at 76...and his father died from a condition that, from the description on the death certificate, sounded a lot like colon cancer. I would have to say I’ve taken my own health issues more seriously since I saw a deadly arrow pointing at me across multiple generations of real people, my family members, who died from this cancer. Building my extended family health history eventually led to an important diagnosis of Celiac Disease, and motivated me to make lifestyle changes and monitor for cancer more closely.
The last reason to become a professional genealogist is my love of helping people learn about their own history, leading to those ‘aha’ moments connecting with their ancestors, “Oh so that’s why I’ve always loved gangster movies!” I wish everyone could have those ‘aha’ moments, connecting with the past, finding missing ancestors and heirs, uncovering potential transgenerational health issues, learning about family stories, traditions and culture, learning if someone died in their house (if they’re into that sort of thing), and understanding the history of heirlooms. It gives me joy to help others experience the transformative power of family history. Contact me to learn more.