Many people look at me with a skewed eye when I tell them that I research my family history. Most folks associate genealogy with grey haired, bespectacled, octogenarians sequestered in a dusty corner of the library or county courthouse. While I have to admit that may be me in another 30 years, today I do most of my research on the Internet.
The challenge of genealogy is that there is only one correct answer, and a million different ways to find it. It is the one hobby that involves taking multiple, sometimes contradictory, sources to divine the truth. There are problems that I have worked on for years, and one day you get an email, or find a website, and 'POOF' the mystery is solved. There are baby steps in information, where a single household takes decades to fill in, while others blossom in a few hours. I can't think of another pursuit that requires as much weaving of disparate bits of information, abstract thought, and basic detective work. It entails web surfing, reading, phone calls, mail, email, travel, negotiation, humility, and patience.
I have met distant cousins, police officers, politicians, teachers, historians, courthouse clerks, and fellow researchers in my quest for 'the answer'. I have met people who jealously guard their research, and others, like me, who freely share in the hopes a connection will be made a day, a month, a year, or a decade in the future. For the most part, genealogists tend to be helpful, caring, and genuinely nice folk. Genealogy is a life long pursuit, you can ignore it for years, and pick it back up one cold evening you have some free time. I tend to like it because I can squeeze a few hours here or there in between family and work.
I have been doing serious research for the last 14 years into my family history. I'd like to recognize some other people who have contributed so much to the information here. First, there were my Grandfather's cousins Ethel and Hazel who wrote down and collected key information in 1920s. There was my Grandfather, Ebenezer Rowland Finlay, who organized much our family history into a scrap book, which I still have today. He worked closely with his daughter, Mary Haskell, to assemble the information. Mary passed away a few years ago; I hope that she looked fondly at my efforts. Her daughter, Marianne, has produced some amazing research on my Grandmother's family (Bliss) and the Davis family. I always look forward to her letters. Every family needs a historian, someone who will accept, and treasure, the boxes of photos, scraps of paper, War ration cards, etc. that end up in an old shoe box when someone has passed, or is moving. My Grandfather, my Aunt, and now my cousin and I have assume that role over the years.
A few others to mention:
Gloria Winslow, the first cousin I found, descendent of David Finlay (1817-1903)
Laura Morley Collier, descendent of Cornelius (1828-1878)
Maggie Finley Whitmore, descendant of Cornelius (1828-1878)
John Culligan, McLaughtry historian, descendent of Margaret Finlay (c1890-1878)
Joyce Riedinger, who runs possibly the best county site ever, Delaware, NY
Barbara Seelaus, a descendant of Francis Joseph Pahud de Valangin (1719-1805)
This site was last updated 01/27/13