Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Year ... Gone

Some of you Harry Potter aficionados might recognize the title of my blog as one of Professor Dumbledore's last lines in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone. I have always loved that line. And yes, I know it isn't the end of the year, but last week was the end of my calendar year as it starts on February 17th. I can't believe I've been working on my family history for about 34 years, probably really actively for the last  25 years. I usually say it starts with working on the Percival/Bowman line when I joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy, but really it all started with a cassette tape that my uncle Jack recorded with my grandfather Zimmeth way back in 1977, trying to get the family lore recorded. My uncle was nice enough to share the recording, but he neglected to share some of the stuff he already knew about the family and I set out to fill in the blanks oh those many years ago.

Thirty-four years ago I did not have a computer. I didn't know what a family group sheet or a pedigree chart was. I didn't know about vital records, county courthouses and neither did I know where the bodies were buried so to speak. I also didn't know how consuming the research was and how I would become consumed by it at times. Twenty-five years ago, we bought our first computer and that is when I really formally began keeping track of the information I was finding. What a blessing genealogy programs were and still are. I couldn't keep track without them.

Mind you, I'm not complaining about being consumed by it. For the most part it keeps me out of trouble and that is a good thing. It's also given me a unique look at some of my ancestors. And the funny thing is, the thrill of finding one of those little documents that give me a peek into the character of one my ancestors, it is still with me. I so love those AHA moments when the little light bulb goes off in my head. They are so precious. They don't come as often, because I've done so much research, but finding those bits and pieces of ancestral character or color are what keep me fascinated and passionate about this task I've set before myself.

 One of my goals has been to keep myself healthy enough to see myself on the 1960 census. It's the first one in which I appear, and I think it will be quite a thrill to see me there. Yeah, I know it will be 21 years before that one is released, but yeah, we all need goals. I just need to keep myself busy until then!

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. There is a 72-year lag in releasing census data? Why 72? Seems like a strange number.

  2. To afford privacy to the people who appear on the census. At the time 72 was over the average lifespan.