I became interested in family history research through a convergence of events, listening and luck. My parents were older when I was born (she was 39 and he was 55), so in hearing tales of their childhoods, they were covering two generations of time in an historical sense. We visited my mother's family regularly, but most of my father's family was dead before I was born, so I only heard about them through the vivid stories Daddy could tell. So I was immersed in hearing about family from the time I was a small child. And Mother had done family history research before I was born, in the era before computers or even many indexes.
In the mid-1970s, when I told a friend that my husband and I were moving to Fort Wayne, she remarked, "Oh,that's where the big genealogy library is." I thought nothing of it.
I began working for the then-Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County in 1977. The next year, when we visited my parents, Daddy said, since Mother had already worked on her family, could I do some research on his. So before and after work and on lunch hours, I began researching. I asked questions and learned bit by bit. It was nice to be an employee and roam the closed stacks. I learned about Daddy's people, and discovered more about Mother's. I disproved several of my maternal aunt's fondly held beliefs about the family and its connections, taking great pleasure in her increasing annoyance as my ancestors stopped being heroic figures and became people.
I've been doing my research for 34 years now, and have been working in The Genealogy Center since 1983. I have helped a lot of beginners as well as experienced researchers seeking additional information. I've pried a lot of people off of brick walls, and occasionally helped chip the mortar to find a way through. It's fun to help with the challenges knowing I won't dream about other people's missing ancestors like I do my own.
One of my great pleasures in recent years has been the little sprouts that my daughter has produced for our family tree, in addition to the new lines to research that her husband provided. I still have a long way to go in my research, but I'm having so much fun that the next 35 years will fly by. I hope that everyone who comes in to do family research will find it as enjoyable and satisfying as I have.