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Nerd alert! I've caught the research bug.

For those of you who don't know, genealogy is the study of family ancestry. That might sound boring to some but I find it fascinating, especially when you consider that all the big important events in history were actually lived by people related to you--your ancestors. That makes the revolutionary war personal. That makes slavery personal. That makes the civil war and reconstruction, the women's suffrage movement, World War I and II, the civil rights movement and so many other events in American (and world) history personal.
David Finchum
My 3X great grandfather served
in the E.M.M (Enrolled Missouri
Militia) during the Civil War. 

In a strange way, genealogy combines all of my major interests into the perfect hobby: History takes shape when I look upon historical documents that bear the name of a relative from nearly 150 years ago. I love how the language that people used when writing or speaking in the past is so different from today; even the handwriting has changed remarkably. After I have gathered all the facts and records, I try to imagine the psychology of people who lived in this land without the modern conveniences and advancements we enjoy today. How did religion or ethnic identity shape their lives in the time period they lived? Creating a profile of my ancestors--really trying to understand who they were, what motivated them, how they reacted when facing opposition--is the best part about genealogy research.

Since I am biracial, I have found it very interesting learning about the lives led by my black and white family lines. I'm only a few months into research but eventually I hope to learn enough to write and design a book (which has always been a lifelong goal of mine) to share with my family. This experience has also made me aware of just how precious our time is with our family members. There are many questions I wish I could ask relatives who are no longer here, but I can't.
Willie Marshall
My 3X great grand-uncle owned a barber shop
 in East Austin during the 1930s and 40s.

I've gained an incomparable new sense of identity learning about the lives of the people who came before me. I've come to realize that I am who I am because of them. Their strength and perseverance is very encouraging to me, especially when I compare my cushy, modern life with the harsh existence of trying to survive off the land some 200 years ago. I don't know if I could make it in the world that they lived in. But I know I can honor them by keeping their lives and memories alive for future generations to know and learn from.

Read my other genealogy post, Fun with Photoshop, where I share a few examples of family photos I digitally restored using Photoshop.