Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings (see sidebar) has a Saturday Night Funtime tradition and his latest one was the following:
The Assignment: Answer These Questions about Your Genealogy Life
As usual, I feel like Rabbit from Winnie The Pooh. Wasn't he always rushing about yelling "I'm late! I'm late?" Well, I am. Aaaagain. So here are my answers!
1. When did you start genealogy research?
1992, when I was pregnant with my daughter. Lots of time on my hands then!
2. Why did you start doing research?
My grandmother was my inspiration. After my grandfather died, my then 90-year old grandmother decided to remain alone in their home. I lived in the same town as she did but my parents lived about an hour away so they made it clear to me it was my responsibility to check on her daily. At the age of 22 that wasn't exactly the most exciting assignment, let me tell you! We'd never grown close -- the age difference between my grandparents and I was even greater than most and seemingly insurmountable then. I thought, if I got up early and went for breakfast, I could visit shorter amounts of time and my excuses for leaving would be better ones! So that's what I did.
But life has a funny way of turning out in ways you don't expect. I went for breakfasts. Grandma would make me coffee, eggs and oatmeal and we'd talk. At first they were rather stilted conversations because at 22 everything was about me. I suspect grandma pulled out her old boxes full of pictures because of the lapses in conversation, or maybe it was because when she'd tell me things like her mother was a Quaker or that her father was a tintyper, I showed a little bit of interest.
The clincher was when she handed me a paper written by my grandfather. On it were tombstone transcriptions of my Browning relatives from a cemetery in Crawford County. She told me that grandpa had always wondered who these people were. It wasn't long before I began to wonder as well.
3. What was your first big success in research?
Discovering who the "S & M Browning" written on my Browning tombstones were.
4. What is your biggest genealogy regret?
Up until recently, that I'm not able to sit down with my grandfather and tell him all the things that I've discovered about his family. He was interested in genealogy and researched his own roots, things I never knew about him when he was alive. Though he and I were close we never really talked because I was young and too wrapped up in my own little world to pay attention. I'd pay attention now.
I suspect that my biggest genealogical regret will be coming soon, if it isn't already here unbeknownst to me. A researcher and cousin I've worked with and have developed a friendship with has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Her deepest regret is not being able to prove that the John Browning found living in Harrison County in 1820 (though Ancestry doesn't show him or Samuel it's a database error -- I have the original) is our Samuel Browning's father. I would LOVE to prove this before she goes. I'm making a trip back to OH in April and I am hoping to find something then but I fear April may be too late. I haven't heard from her in a month or two. It could already be too late.
5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world?
I wrote a book on my Browning family that I self-published on CD for family members and other interested parties. It took eight years of research and much more in sweat equity. Worth every penny.
6. What is your professional status in genealogy?
Intermediate-skill family historian and researcher. I have no professional credentials whatsoever, though I've done a few paying gigs for clients.
7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement?
See #5 above, I'd think. That, or reuniting two long-lost family members after more than 60 years apart. I've been told by one of the ladies' nephews that I should consider that my greatest achievement. He says there is no way to measure the enrichment of their lives in their golden years because of this. I'm thrilled and humbled that my actions have meant so much.
8. What is the most FUN you've had doing genealogy?
Other than the happy dances of new research or informational victory? Meeting cousins and introducing them to each other, going on trips and feeling instant camraderie, and of late, beginning a blog! It's a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book?
Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs, followed closely by Ohio Genealogical Records.
10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday?
Elizabeth Shown Mills
57 minutes ago