When I was in my early twenties my younger brother was working on a family tree project for school. I was intrigued. I was also starting to ask questions about my grandmother (see Bessie Bromagem for the rest of that story). Mystery books, jigsaw puzzles, logic problems, solitaire games were some of my favorite activities. This was in the mid 1970s, long before I had a PC or the internet. I started learning about genealogy and found that doing research and putting it together was like all my favorites things rolled into one. And visiting the places my ancestors lived was wonderful. I was hooked.
How many of you have struggled with the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?"? I didn't have a good answer, jumping through three (very!) different majors in college before finally falling into computer work & programming as a vocation. Some of my later answers to the question were a genealogy librarian, a forensic anthropologist, some flavor of social scientist, an exotic dancer (just checking to see if you are paying attention!). But more and more the answer became "genealogist". Then in 2006 my brother and I exchanged Christmas presents of the first National Geographic Genographic test. That did it. I was hooked on DNA. Now the answer to the question is unequivocally "Genetic genealogist".
I've spent the last several years taking advantage of educational opportunities regarding DNA tests and results, traditional genealogy methods, and how to integrate the two. It truly is a huge logic problem. My friends have said my face lights up when I talk about it. And talk about it I have, even volunteering to speak publicly a couple of times (there's a first time for everything!). Privately I've helped several friends and family members with their projects. I already have on my agenda for this year attending webinars, conferences and a week long institute.
2016: Year of Change would have also been appropriate. I will retire from my database analyst position at Indiana University. My son has brought a wonderful woman and her awesome daughter into our lives and they will be making it official. I'll have the house to myself for the first time in several years. But I chose "emergence" because of the sense of moving forward. Change happens. It's what you do with it that matters. By the end of 2016 - 40 plus years after I started a genealogy hobby, 10 years after I did my first DNA testing - I will be on my way to becoming a genetic genealogist. Boy, that sounds a bit like a resolution, doesn't it?