When I was younger I always thought I had a small family. Most of my cousins were quite a lot younger than me, and being a avid reader , I really enjoyed reading stories about large family's, and was always fascinated by them.
Another interest of mine was the modern day Royal Family and how they were descended from the Kings and Queens I learned about in History. History in general ended up being a big interest of mine. In particular Henry the 8th and Queen Victoria. I loved learning how each of Henry 8th wives were all related to other prominent family's and the same surnames cropping up in other aspects of British History. Then when studying WW1 , discovering that nearly every country had a grandchild of Queen Victoria in their Royal Family, yet they were all on opposite sides . Alonside this, the story of the tzars of Russia, and the Haemophillia being passed down to Alexei intrigued me.
My own family history interested me, and always remembered being told that my Great Grandad Arthur Neal had come from a large family in a little village called Bignor in Sussex. After a day out in I think 1994 , there was traffic on the motroway and we was redirected , and I spotted a signpost for Bignor and thought it would be interesting to see, so made a little detour and followed the signs. Bignor is still only a small village so the church was easy to find, and had a little walk around the graveyard (which soon became a big thing for me to do!) and discovered many Neal graves. With a scrap bit of paper i copied some of the details down, and headed home. From then on I was hooked on working out who they all were and the relationships. - 25 years later i am addicted!
In the early days of my research - even to find the Births, Marriage and Deaths indexes, this involved going to the main registry office, and searching through ginoormous books that were so heavy and battling other genalogists to find space to actually open the book! Also using Microfilm and Microfeische which could be very time consuming. Record office and graveyards were my days out! Taking the husband along to photgraph for me! Many of our uk holiday destinations have been because I wanted to search a particular record office, visit a particular church or graveyard.
Today, through subscriptions, and knowing where to look, a lot of information can be gained from the internet, but it is important to unnderstand the difference between actual information from a record to information that someone else has just posted up. If you just take information that somone else has posted without the records to back it up, you can easily end up with a fictional tree and recreating some ones elses mistakes.For me though, genealogy is not about statistics or numbers of people on my tree, it is the stories behind it, I still love finding out someones occupation, researching myself about the occupation, looking to see where they might have worked or traded , and how this fits in with local history or events in the country at the time.
I have made some fascinating discoveries about people in my tree and never imagined the diversity this would include. I obviously have favourite "finds" which i can endlessly talk about - and have tried to conclude as much as I can on my research section.Also to mention that along with interesting and fascinating finds, I have also discovered parts of my ancestry that although interesting can be upsetting or even shocking. I have also shared some of these on my research pages - one example is discovering that my 5th great grandfather was a slave trader. Family legends can turn out to be a huge myth - which can be hard for some people to find out, so when delving into genealogy these are things to consider.
A real positive aspect of genealogy for me has been making contact with some wonderful "cousins" who we have worked togather to discover more about our shared ancestors. Although my research will always be ongoing - as there is always more to discover, it does slow down. But I love the mystery and the finding out which is one reason I am offering to use my knowledge and experience in using online databases to research your ancestry - which you can then use to plan your visits to the location of your ancestors.