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Family History and Genealogy as a Hobby

Updated on September 7, 2014

There are many approaches to family history and genealogy as a hobby - what is yours?

Many of us research, study, record and report our family history and genealogy with a passion - but even that passion varies from person to person. In this lens I hope to share some of my thoughts about and approaches to my family history and genealogy work... as a hobby.

Some have moved on to convert their passion for family history and genealogy work to a profession, a vocation, and make a good living doing what they love to do. Their story is for another place. Here, I want to focus our attention on the hobby aspects. Thanks for joining this journey

Image Courtesy of Deb Spradlin

Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories - I'm in the 1940 US Census

This is where is all begins - as well as the latest information. This blog post appeared the same day that I started creating this lens. No secrets here.

If you were to actually want to know my approach to family history and genealogy, perusing this blog is probably the best way to do that.

I always appreciate comment on my blog posts, so 'feel free' if you do stop by.

Three Kinnick Gentlemen
Three Kinnick Gentlemen

Of course, the past is important

We need to know our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents

I have had the pleasure of studying my mother's surname and family extensively. This passion is represented by these three gentlemen, but their three wives, of course, have contributed to my life and my love of family history as well.

My grandmother, married to Paul, back left, was born in Denmark, so that is one-fourth of my heritage. Alonzo, back right, Paul's father, married Nettie, whose father was born in Wales - more insights. Walter, in front, Alonzo's father, was a Civil War Veteran. His father, also Walter, was born the same year as Abraham Lincoln. His grandfather, William KINNICK, was a Sgt Major in the Revolutionary War for three years.

I believe you quickly see where my passion for family history and genealogy is rooted.

Iowa's Kinnick Stadium - home of the Iowa Hawkeyes - Love 'em or Hate 'em??

Personally, I'm an Iowa State graduate - so Iowa Hawkeye fans are not my favorites.

However, I try to cheer for Iowa when they are playing other teams.

Let's see if we can get some controversy started here, even on a hobby lens...

Iowa Hawkeyes sports teams - Love 'em or Hate 'em; explain in comments

Best of Springfield Genealogy Series on Examiner.com - I was recently asked to post this series - it fits in nicely here on this lens

I write regular articles for the online newspaper Examiner.com in the Springfield, Missouri, market on genealogy and family history. I was recently asked to publish a series on The Best of... in my topic area. This became the five part series I have linked, below: The Best of Springfield Genealogy. This link is to the first of the five articles.

It actually well represents some of my philosophies - the essence of this lens.

I look forward to your comments.

13 Ways on Amazon

I wrote this nonfiction book specifically to encourage others to share the ancestor stories they discover. I hope you will, as well.

13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories (2nd Edition)
13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories (2nd Edition)

How do you tell your stories? Here are some suggestions!

 

My family saga novels on Amazon - I think you will enjoy them - check them out, print or on Kindle

These stories are not autobiographical, but they are based on my observations of family and their relationships.

Thank you, in advance, for stopping by!! ;-)

Did I spark your interest in this fascinating hobby? I hope so

If so, why? If not, why, also?

Thanks for stopping by!

Your Comments are welcome - Not only welcome, but requested

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    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 3 years ago from So Cal

      Now I'm really interested in your Springfield connection. I have family buried in the Yeakley Chapel Cemetery in Springfield. I have family there but they are not interested in the family history. Next year, I am going to Springfield but I will not waste time visiting family, I have a whole graveyard itinerary from Jefferson City to Springfield planned.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Richard1988: Thank you so much for this length reply. You are most welcome. I have quite a number of Family History related lenses you may want to visit, just scroll down the page of my lenses... there is lensography, but I'm not sure how current it is! ;-)

    • Richard1988 profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Hampshire - England

      Really enjoyed reading this lens and my father too is fascinated with genealogy. I will be sharing this with him as it will give him pleasure to read. You are completely right about the importance of the past. I like to think of the present as a small island in the middle of the ocean. When standing on that island you can't see the bedrock past beneath you but it is there and without it you could not be where you are. I think reminding people about their lineage puts perspective on things and somehow makes our daily endeavors more meaningful as we are suddenly part of something bigger than ourselves. Thank you for this great lens.

    • Lionrhod profile image

      Lionrhod 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Great lens! Going to check out your book. I recently wrote a lens about finding my uncle (who we never knew existed) on Ancestry.com

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Joanne Reid: Thank you! ;-)

    • Joanne Reid profile image

      Joanne Reid 3 years ago from Prince Edward Island/Arizona

      Great lens. I had to buy your book!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I've recently studied my family history some, and it's very fascinating. I plan to do more.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @susan369: For sure! ;-)

    • profile image

      susan369 3 years ago

      My father used to do this and he even uncovered a distant relative somewhere in Austria. A great hobby - very worthwhile! Make sure you record your findings for future generations.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      My husband is half Scottish and he's sure he's from the McGregor Clan. We've tried finding out by sending off his DNA but the response we got back was so complicated it left us baffled. Any advice you may be able to give us would be great. It is a very interesting topic.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @evawrites1: Good for you! Best wishes! ;-)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I helped start a genealogy group in the retirement community I live in. Fun to have others share your passion.

    • evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 3 years ago

      I'm already compiling our family tree for some time and I found all these book very interesting, thank you!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @norma-holt: For sure! Best wishes to you and yours on your search, as well! ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Virginia Allain: Good for you! Have a great year! ;-)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      My daughter roamed through the family cupboards last year and found a few skeletons worth dragging out. It's an interesting pastime if you want to know about your roots. Well done and hope you continue to enjoy it.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @DeborahDian: Good for you. Do recognize that it can become addictive, however! Enjoy!

      Holidays are great times to talk family history and family memories... then make notes, and research to find the truth behind the "family traditions" tales and myths! That is really fun, for most of us! ;-)

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      I have done a little genealogy research, and plan to do more in the future!

    • profile image

      nonya222 4 years ago

      Very interesting and fun. I love genealogy too.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Judy Filarecki: It is great to hear he was excited to get it. Great. Very gratifying! ;-)

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      It is fascinating to find out new things about your family. My niece researched my Mom and shared it withus all. My grandson just called and wanted to know all ab out my parents, grandparents and so on. Fortunately, I had painted a family tree for him when he was born and it ges back 6 generations on both his parent's sides. He was really excited to find it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Family history, as you stated, can be done from many perspectives. When I discuss family history with my parents I ask them about the medical background of some relatives. After visiting several doctors they would always ask if you know if there is a medical history of certain diseases. Sad to say: I only knew a few. From then on I started asking about the medical histories and it has led to some good information that can be relevant to future generations. Thanks for this lens.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @mrducksmrnot: For sure. Good for you! The work is never done, of course. I'm pleased that our youngest daughter seems to have taken up the task... with strong support from her two sisters, so I'm very grateful! ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @anonymous: It is a wonderful thing to do - and to have done. Best wishes with those updates, as well! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My late father produced a book about our family in 1990 and we update it every year with the family members' annual letter - the one included in the Christmas card. I took dad over a year to compile the information and I was happy to play secretary and help with the typing.

    • profile image

      mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

      Great advice for sure. Following those women's maiden names is a must do and many of those women have old Family Bible's that have much recorded history not to be found elsewhere. Wonderful lens and I can see you enjoy your hobby as much as I did. I finally turned it over to other's to carry on after publishing my genealogy heritage and had it copyrighted complete with ISBN number. Lot's of paperwork but well worth the time to share after I have gone on.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @lesliesinclair: Just be warned... it can be addictive... ;-)

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      Since I've found some wonderful old family photos I'm tempted to do some geneaology research.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @chezchazz: Love it! Best wishes! Thanks for liking three of my lenses! ;-)

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      My wife has been collecting family stories and photos and is planning to write a piece of historical fiction (early 19th through 20th centuries) based on those. (Family lore links her dad's family to an early doge of Venice but we haven't been able to prove that.) I'm sending her a link to your pages for inspiration. We're also both involved in local landmark and historical societies and efforts even though we are relative newcomers to the fascinating historic district we live in.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @shake-your-tail-feathers: Good for them. It is very fun and very informative. I love the mystery of the search! ;-)

    • profile image

      shake-your-tail-feathers 5 years ago

      My parents are really into Genealogy, and have traced us back to being relatives of Robert the Bruce!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @WriterJanis2: It can be very satisfying. But, be aware, it can be very addictive, as well - as you likely know! ;-)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I would love to pursue this.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @Melissa Miotke: Good for you. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I encourage folks to find their way back to all their 16 round of grandparents, to get really started. The stories of their journey's, to me, are much more interesting than just "where they came from" - but each family sees their ancestry a bit different. Best wishes! ;-)

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      I recently had a DNA test done for fun which tells you which 10 countries citizens most closely match your DNA. It doesn't tell you what ethnicity you are but just where you're most matched to. I've always been told I was made up of 4 countries however only 1 was on my report. I was shocked by some of the results. It really got me interested in wondering about geneology not just over several generations but over thousands of years. I know in my family we've been focused on where our great-grandparents came from but haven't gone much further than that.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @retro-gamer: Have you worked on the female line? Often the answers to the male line questions lie in the details of the female lines. Aunts and uncles often are critical elements of family history! ;-)

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 5 years ago from Michigan

      Great lens and as many do, have a curiosity of our family tree and history. I've had success with mine on one side of the family to go way back but the other side is a lot more work and stuck in the mid/late 1800's.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @delia-delia: Thank you, so much, for the additional visit. Best wishes on your continued searches! ;-)

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      I came back to the lens I wanted to check out, seeing it pertained to Genealogy. You are lucky to have so much information, unfortunately I have not had too much luck only my "Ives" side, the rest did not immigrate to this country, and NO ONE is searching information on that lineage because I'm the only one left on that line. So maybe someday I will be lucky...as having had subscriptions, I had no luck. Thanks for your comment on the 'Ives' lens.

      This lens is nicely done and informative. Thanks for sharing!

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @LeopoldBlatt: Thank you for stopping by... ;-)

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @JJNW: Thank you, so much... appreciation is what keeps me going! ;-)

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      Very inspiring! Family is so important & special. *** Blessed by a SquidAngel ***

    • LeopoldBlatt profile image

      LeopoldBlatt 5 years ago

      Nice interesting article, made nice reading. Great hobby too.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @mojoCNYartist: Totally agree. Social context makes our ancestors come alive. I write a lot about Heritage Tourism for that very reason. As we travel, we can learn more of that context. Thanks for stopping by and leavings a great comment! ;-)

    • mojoCNYartist profile image

      Dan 5 years ago from CNY

      I thinking studying geneology is really fun, but then again not everyone is a history nerd. For example I will look up facts about areas, and events that happened where/when an ancestor lived. I think helps us to understand how and why we are in our given circumstances sometimes.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      @LynetteBell: Thanks for stopping by. We'll keep trying to provide useful information... can't be done all at once. Keep up your good efforts! ;-)

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I signed up for a couple of heritage sites to find info about my Father and his family but one was a US one another Ausie. They had nothing for me...wrong place to start.