Tonight 60 young folks from our area gathered together in a family history research party. They were looking for any of their ancestors who were pioneers in the western U.S. or who came to America in 'interesting' ways.
That doesn't sound much different than any of us does it?
We are all searching for our ancestors and know that most of them had very interesting stories in their lives if we can just find them.
Tonight, four of us 'old salts' scrambled from person to person answering questions and offering suggestions to aid in their search. The questions, the 'wahoos' associated with finds and the intuitive research thought processes of these young folks were impressive.
When they saw the LAN server setting on the floor hooked to tables of laptops and terminals, their first reaction was, "Hey, we are playing computer games tonight!". That wasn't correct, but it did provide a setting that most of them were used to and comfortable in.
I'd earlier created a website with a sixty or so family history research links on the home page for their quick reference, and with one glance at its listings and a few words of instruction, they were hot on the trail of their family.
Many pioneers were found, both those who traveled across the American west in wagons and handcart companies as well as those who were crammed into the compressed spaces aboard passenger ships dating from 1620 to recent days.
None of the keyboards melted. The DSL connection at our remote location staggered a few times, but was able to serve the load.
I couldn't honestly say that the four us us 'aides' were equally bushy tailed by the end of the research 'party' though. We scurried. We hurried. We tried to hear amidst the din of excitement, questions, chatting and clicking of keyboards during the entire event. Our responses ranged from "try any spelling of the name" to "how did you do that?" "Teach me!"
Yes, the shift was long enough for us 'aides' but way too short for the participants. They'd tasted the excitement of putting on their 'Sherlock hats' in the quest to find their ancestors. Almost all were infected with the research 'bug' and it will continue with them to some extent from this point in time on.
Once they made a 'find' and saw their ancestors name and learned a little about their lives, the 'hook' was set.
You can fight it. You can try to ignore it. But in the end, you'll give in and follow where it takes you and it will lead you back to finding your roots.
It feels good being a witness to this particular infection. Tired, but good.