If only I had started into Genealogy before I was 18 …. or better, if my parents had done so for me. Let me explain with three examples.
First, I was particularly close to and admired my father. Fortunately I asked for and he did write his autobiography. Several years after he died I visited Germany and passed through Koblenz. In World War I he had been stationed there and billeted with a German family with whom he developed a good relationship. However, he failed to add their name and address in his autobiography. Imagine if you will, as I have, had I gone to that home, asked if they remembered my father, and they had regaled me with stories of their time together. What a memory that would have created.
Second, I lived many years in the Hartford, Connecticut area. I probably traveled a thousand times to Boston and spent that many nights there. Long after I had retired and moved south, I found that many of my ancestors had come in the 17th century to Massachusetts. I could have dined at the Wayside Inn instead of a Mariott; I could have slept in Plymouth instead of downtown Boston – well, you get the idea, I could have traveled the same footsteps as my ancestors.
Third, one of my English ancestors bought a regiment of soldiers in the 1790s. He fought with this regiment in Spain, in South Africa and many other places. In 1807 he took his men to Uruguay in South America and there was killed by Maldonado in Montevideo. 176 years later I married a lady who was born and raised in Montevideo. When she criticizes me, just think, I can say “Yes, but your people killed my people in 1807.”
The family history which I have researched has provided intellectual stimulation for me in retirement. What I have done will allow my descendants to better appreciate the places where they live or the places to which they travel.