Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings asks:
“What event or person inspired you to start your genealogy research?”
For me it was in early 1989, a few months after I’d bought my first Macintosh computer in November 1988. I attended a Moffat family Reunion in Balclutha, New Zealand arranged by an Uncle. One of my father’s cousins had prepared what I now know to be a Register Report that started at the first of our Moffats to immigrate to New Zealand – my great grandfather William Moffat (1829 – 1895)
The report was 16 pages long, and it was created on a typewriter. The first thing that happened during the Reunion was that people looked at this report and starting writing additions and corrections on almost every page, which meant that to recreate it, it would ALL have to be retyped.
So me with my new computer got to thinking “there has to be a way to get a computer to do that”. I eventually found a couple of software programmes – Family Roots which I bought through Jan Gow of Beehive Books which worked, but was VERY un-Macintosh like, and MacGene which was quite Macintosh like, but didn’t last long.
During a 2 year stint at a weather station on Campbell Island in New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic I entered all that was on the typewritten register report, then added other information from a booklet I had about the Houliston family, and wrote to everyone who was listed on the Register Report I could find an address for.
Once this was done, the obvious progression was to try and find out more – a quest I’ve been on for the last 18 years
Once I left Campbell Island I headed to Europe for 5 months, including 3 days at New Register House in Edinburgh where the brickwalls were pushed back some more generations.
In 1992 I headed to Antarctica for a year at Scott Base and took Macintosh with me, as well as my newly acquired Reunion for Macintosh to make the move from Family Roots to Reunion, and to work on all I’d gathered up until then.
The internet has revolutionised how this all works, and since putting my genealogy online I’ve “met” any number of distant relatives – some of whom I knew existed, and many of whom I never knew existed, and in more recent years I’ve travelled twice to Scotland and actually met 3 of them Jean and Nettie Fleming of Roxburghshire, Scotland and Sandy Bain of Dundee, Scotland.
Over the years my genealogy file has grown from the few hundreds on that initial Register Report to over 18,000 – 6,250 of whom I have a blood relationship to (8,590 including spouses), and 15,000 who are linked to me somehow.