I began my family history at a young age after my parents started researching our family. I was bitten by the genealogy bug - genealogy is an additive hobby! I do other things besides research my family history, but this is a hobby that never quits. I must assume that you, too, are interested in tracing your family history. My primary interest with this website, WeRelate, is to share my research with family or other researchers and to collaborate, to further our knowledge of our ancestors. Collaborating with distant, and sometimes not-so-distant, cousins is one of the joys of genealogy. When we can easily share information and each of us can tell how the other reached his or her conclusions, our joint efforts are much more productive and enjoyable.
It is a rare individual who does not at sometime in his or her life wonder just who his forebears were; what they did, where they lived, what personal characteristics did they possess that might have been passed down from generation to generation; from whence came the composite of genes that determined our particular physical features such as color of eyes and hair, height, complexion and sometimes even our personal traits and dispositions.
Our maternal ancestors are just as important as the paternal forebears. The only reason we use the paternal side is that it gives us a continuous thread by which to trace a common ancestral line. Some knowledge of the past, some information on just who we are and what line of descent brought us into being does help us to better understand ourselves. Without a past, there could not be a present, without a present; there could not be a future.
As the generations come and go a certain amount of family facts and history that can be obtained only from the memory of individuals is lost. Even of more importance is the hope that present and future descendants will add to the various family branches names of individuals who will have made even greater contributions to the world and to the betterment of mankind.
Thirty years later, I have researched and found thousands of my kinfolk all over the United States as well as several overseas. I have invested in real estate, do commercial & industrial sheet metal - all in my "free" time. I still have three children living at home, two attending Kansas University and the youngest is attending Lawrence High School. Surely my efforts will bring a warm heart to my children to know about their ancestors and their lives.
Human curiosity about the past isn't a recent phenomenon. "Who are your people?" may be the way some now phrase the question, but the desire to know the answer to that question is a historical one - of biblical proportions. Genealogy involves searching for, recording, and verifying all the information that proves your family's lineage - your descent from those ancestors who make up your pedigree. Genealogy research isn't easy. Add trying to find things on the Internet, and it can be a daunting task.
Now that a lot of information is easier to find, more and more people are getting involved in genealogical research. They come from all walks of life - men and women, professionals and students, teenagers and grandparents. Each has his or her own reason for pursuing genealogy. Whatever your reason, you're sure to find a rich history and interesting stories while you research your family. But researching isn't all roses. You're bound to hit some rough spots, where source information doesn't exist or research trails hit a dead end. It can be very frustrating work, but identifying your family's place in history is a rewarding gift to yourself and to subsequent generations.
Whether you are curious about how to discover your roots, or are already a seasoned genealogist facing an overwhelming stack of inherited family papers, or just embarking on tracing your ancestors, be thankful for the Internet. Not that many years ago, you probably never would have imagined accessing the great libraries of the world from the comfort of your own home - at least not without amassing huge telephone bills. The Internet has changed our lives.
There's always the possibility that someone else has already researched all or part of your family history, and they may have published some or all of their findings online. This isn't to say that you should copy someone else's work to use as your own; that's considered a big no-no for obvious ethical - and often legal - reasons. However, you can use the work done by someone else as a starting point to refine and expand your own research.
Sharing is a big part of successful genealogical research and collaborating with distant cousins may turn out to be the most fun and rewarding phase of your research. You will be able to network with other researchers trading information. At the very least, you'll be comforted by sharing frustrations with other researchers and you'll learn from many others who share your interest in genealogy.
In the past, you never knew when you would pass your genealogy research on to someone else, or even if you would be around to do so. Now, all things are possible. I am now entering surnames & places to WeRelate and may upload a gedcom for the McManness, allied & collateral families so that collaboration can take place by people that are interested in genealogy and family history. I am looking forward to your participation! Please provide additions and corrections as well as comments about this web site and this McManness family project. There is definitely something wonderful about family history. :) --Mmcmanness 09:30, 31 March 2007 (MDT)