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  • jreakes
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 17, 2002
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      > by Beth Maltbie Uyehara BUYE@...
      > Hi. My name is Beth M. U., and I'm a geneaholic. My story's not
      > a pretty one. I am sharing it here in the hope that it may help
      > others avoid my pitiful fate. If you, too, are addicted to
      > genealogy, I want you to know that you are not alone. There
      > are thousands of us worldwide struggling in the daily battle
      > against this cunning, baffling and powerful addiction.
      > There was something "different" about me from the get-go.
      > Looking back, the signs were there for all to see. Even as a
      > child, when relatives threw old Daguerreotypes in the trash, I
      > would fish around among the coffee grounds and egg shells and
      > pull them out. When old letters or diaries were discovered in
      > musty trunks, I stayed up all night reading them. Obits, report
      > cards, discharge papers, photos of unknown people: I hoarded
      > them all. I didn't care what kind of document it was, or who it
      > concerned -- if it was remotely connected to "family," I had to
      > have it.
      > I'm making no excuses. I had a good upbringing. Genealogy
      > certainly doesn't run in my family -- I come from a long line
      > of people who could take their ancestors or leave them alone.
      > Yes, there were rumors of an aunt on my father's side who "did
      > a little research on weekends," but she covered her tracks well,
      > and I have never been able to prove for certain that she was a
      > geneaholic. Aside from that one suspect, my relatives were all
      > what we call "social genealogists." For them, a colorful
      > forebear or two were good for party conversations, to be
      > chuckled over at family gatherings, and that was it.
      > Not me. Right from the beginning, I was out of control. I could
      > never stop with just one or two ancestors. Every ancestor I
      > found triggered an insatiable craving in me for two more, and
      > four more after that, and eight more after that. I could not
      > stop once I got started. Eventually, genealogy took over my
      > life. Bouts of compulsive research would leave me babbling
      > incoherently, slumped exhausted, sometimes barely conscious, at
      > a microfilm reader in some darkened room, surrounded by other
      > addicts satisfying their own shameful cravings for genealogical
      > kicks. Many are the times I've been thrown out of a library at
      > closing time, kicking and screaming, begging for just five
      > minutes more, just "one more ancestor for the road." It was
      > humiliating.
      > As the years went by, things went from bad to worse. It was an
      > endless downward spiral. I found myself sneaking from library
      > to library in distant parts of town, even in other cities and
      > states, searching for the ultimate high -- that mysterious
      > immigrant ancestor, whose identity would make everything fall
      > into place.
      > I hit bottom one hot August day in a cemetery in a far-off
      > state. How I got there doesn't matter. Let's just say that
      > after much research, I had located the grave of an ancestor
      > who -- according to family legend -- had died in some kind of
      > accident. As I stared at the weathered, old tombstone, wondering
      > how I could find out how he had died, the thought occurred to
      > me: "I could dig him up and see."
      > Immediately, I recoiled, aghast.
      > "Eeeeeuuuuuuu," I cried, "yuk! That's gross."
      > That's when I knew I needed help. Since that moment of clarity,
      > I've joined numerous genealogy support groups where we offer
      > each other strength and hope, along with research tips and
      > potluck dinners. And I have finally admitted, to myself and to
      > other human beings, that I am powerless over genealogy and my
      > research has become unmanageable.
      > It may be too late for me. But, science has found that young
      > family historians -- those who are, as yet, only potential
      > geneaholics -- can sometimes stop in time. Answer these
      > questions to see if you are in the early stages of addiction.
      > * Home: Has genealogical paperwork taken over any room in
      > your house?
      > * Friends: Is genealogy interfering with your social life?
      > Do people edge away from you at parties when you burst into
      > tears over the 1890 U. S. census?
      > * Family: Do your relatives' eyes glaze over when you explain
      > your latest research? Do you find dead people more fun than live
      > ones?
      > * Work: Is genealogy interfering with your job? How many hours
      > of each workday do you spend on the Internet, or checking your
      > RootsWeb e-mails?
      > * Marriage: Has your spouse ever asked you, "Aren't you done
      > yet? How far back are you planning to go?"
      > * Health: Are you starting to show the physical and mental
      > signs of geneaholic deterioration, such as red-rimmed eyes, a
      > loss of interest in current events, a shortened attention span
      > for non-ancestral topics, excessive viewing of the History
      > Channel?
      > If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you are on
      > the road to genealogical addiction. You must not research even
      > one more ancestor! You must stop NOW, before it's too late! When
      > you feel an overwhelming urge to research, repeat the following
      > until the urge goes away: "My mother found me in a cabbage
      > patch. My mother found me in a cabbage patch. My mother found
      > me in a cabbage patch." Good luck and God help you.
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