Searching for family history is really addictive, the more I learn about my ancestry, the more I want to know. I am interested in how they lived, what their daily lives were like, what style of clothing they wore, what they did to entertain themselves, their beliefs, both religious and political, well, everything.
I have some unanswered questions which may never be answered such as "Why did my great-grandfather change his surname a century ago?" and "Who was Sarah's mother?" I have two Sarah's with unknown mothers, they are huge brick walls but I'm trying my best to break through them.
Family History research is very similar to detective work, you have to weed out the false leads and dig into people's backgrounds, and find out as much as there is about them. Once in a while, if you're lucky, an ancestor may become famous or infamous and there are lots of records available. Most of the time, however, the ancestor is only recorded in the census, vital records or passenger lists and immigration records.
Most people avoid cemeteries like the plague,only going when absolutely necessary, but genealogists take their cameras and go sight-seeing like tourists in among the gravestones. I've got to confess, I have arranged my vacation with a few trips to cemeteries I wanted to see. More than once I have dragged my husband from cemetery to cemetery for a hundred miles looking for a particular relative.
History and family history go hand in hand. You can't really understand how your ancestors lived their lives unless you know the outside influences in their lifetime. I am especially interested in the Revolutionary war and the plight of the United Empire Loyalists. I guess it's because my father took a great interest in the history of Canada and when we were young would take us to places which were historically significant, near or far. He would stop at every way-sign and memorial on our travels.
My dad had a silver buckle, my brother has it now, and he told us that it was from the Revolutionary war. My grandfather gave it to him, he said it had been given to him by his father. Of course, as kids, we couldn't imagine something that old, it didn't look that old. My dad kept it put away, and only brought it out to show someone and then put it back right away, it was the only heirloom from his ancestors and he was going to make sure nothing happened to it. I have since learned that that was the style of buckle in those times, and it would have been a treasured article, passed down from father to son. He treasured it as well, even more so, as he never really knew his grandparents.
I am researching my family history so that my grandchildren will know about their ancestors, where they came from, why they left their homeland, how they lived, what they did in their leisure, what they were like, well, everything. I want future generations to know all about our ancestors. My family history is my "silver buckle".