Originally posted 1 January 2009.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG has written an article of which the opening paragraph so aptly describes what I love about genealogy that I'm copying it here:
Modern genealogy—appropriately done—is history in microcosm. Our
research projects study “up close and personal” small slices of the
past. We pluck individuals from the nameless masses that historians
paint with a broad brush. We learn their names. We follow them from birth to
death. We see the actual effect upon human lives of the grand world events that
historians write about—wars, economic depressions, plagues, politics, and perse-
cutions. We see how one humble person and his or her neighbors can reshape a
community, a state, or a country. Then we repeat the process, generation by gen-
This was originally published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), Volume 91, pp. 260-77.