by Dawne

Immediately after college graduation, I started my first job as a feature reporter for The Kokomo Tribune in Kokomo, Indiana. We often received press releases from food companies with offers of recipe booklet giveaways, and we used some of this material as “filler” in the Wednesday Food sections. I was two months into my dream job when a press release from Ragu – the spaghetti sauce company – crossed my desk one day. The offer was for a free booklet that combined Italian recipes (using Ragu products, of course) and charts for recording genealogy data. Why that struck me at that particular time, I do not know. I had grown up hearing my paternal grandmother tell stories about her ancestors and her extended family, and even had been required to take a college honors colloquium that focused on “The Family” and included completing a pedigree chart. But the Ragu booklet must have been a nudge at the right time – I was old enough to appreciate the concept of family and finally had some free time when I wasn’t busy with school. I started to wonder how much I knew about my own family history and I made some discoveries that many beginning genealogists make: I found out that I didn’t know much, and some of what I thought I knew – what I had been told – was wrong. I was hooked immediately and soon came to the realization that I needed to find a profession that would immerse me in genealogy. Twenty-eight years later, I probably could count on both hands the days that I have not done something relating to family history. I can’t imagine life turning out any other way.