People Who Are Not Interested in Genealogy

Robert W. Gregg
Robert W. Gregg

You know the people I’m talking about.

You meet them all the time.

They say, “Oh, I’m not interested in genealogy. What could you POSSIBLY find interesting in that?”

In my experience, most of these folks begin within 15 minutes to tell you that their father’s emigrated to the United States from Italy, via Puerto Rico, and that their father was always ashamed by being from Puerto Rico…. And that they wish they knew more about their Italian family, and wished their grandmother and father were willing to talk about where the family came from in Italy. It turns out that their high-school sweetheart went to Italy and returned with pages from a local phone book showing all the people with their surname, considered rare in the US, but not in Italy.

Admittedly, this is only my experience, but the people who are not interested in genealogy seem to be the most interested once they realize that it’s not about documents, not about providing proper sourcing. It’s about history, it’s about the lives of the people who came before. Documents, sources, research methods are all in support of the goal, which is understanding history at ground level. While the research itself may not be of interest to everyone, great stories of fame and ignominy will never lose their appeal.