I have 60,000 + people on my family tree. Lots of cousins, Lots of information that I have obtained throughout the years. I have thought often of what I have learned about them and about myself.
I have learned about myself through my ancestors is how strong I am. Not just physically but mentally & emotionally too. I read about what my ancestors had gone through and I think of how I have that in my DNA, therefore, I must be strong to. I wish I had known years ago what my ancestors were like and what they went through. I think my schooling would of been more interesting to me and I would of learned more, been a better student. When I have made mistakes, I would of known by their experiences that I would survive these mistakes and learn from them so they are not repeated. Or maybe they would not of happened at all.
My ancestors amaze me, I am a big fan of each and every one of them. To learn about their experiences as pioneers and the struggles and hardships they endured and survived. Wars, famine, weather related hardships, diseases, loss of loved ones and each one of them survived to pursue their happy lives.
When I first started working on family history, my grandfather had just died in 1967. My grandmother had not really been alone before in her life, so first my brother stayed with her, then that summer I stayed with her. I learned a lot from this lady, she was an amazing person! Many of the things that she taught me, I still do to this day and it's been 43 years. But she kept talking about her family and there were so many. She came from a polygamist family and there were so many of them, I couldn't figure out how a woman of her age could remember SO many people! So I started looking at her family group sheets and the information that she had and asking her questions. She found out that I had taken a typing class and put me to work typing up family group sheets for her. LOTS of people!! But ever since I have worked on my family group sheets. When I find out something new I feel sad that she is not here now for me to tell about them, but in many ways, I think she's here with me and she knows! Throughout the years I have gone to family history centers and worked on my families genealogy. Shaking family trees to see how many nuts I can get out of it is a challenge, it's like putting a jigsaw puzzle together and no, you can't cut the corners to make it fit! Just doesn't work that way.
The best friend to genealogy has been the internet in so many ways. But you have to be careful, some family stories on websites are not thoroughly searched out. I have found a lot of things wrong.
Use common sense, logic when you work on a family and/or individual. Women did not give birth after death, many times I find a name and the birth and death date do not correspond with the individual's parents or children. Needs more research and hopefully you will find the correct records. Check census reports but don't take everything you find there at face value. Sometimes the birth date is "approximate" so you are probably working within a 5/10 year timespan. Many births are also actually the blessing/baptism/christening dates. Sometimes births were not recorded at that time but you can find the christening dates, so within 5/10 years is when that person could of been born. It's time consuming but it is so worth it.
I like doing cluster searches especially when a person you are researching lived 150 - 200 years ago. You can sometimes find information about your family from a cousin's family. Also check the diaries of Clergymen of that area. You can find dates of when they dealt with your family in church functions. Same goes for Physician's diaries. Sometimes you are blessed with finding a Physician's diary or work journal and you can find out what diseases they were dealing with in that area during your ancestors life time. So then you can figure out the medical history and if it affects you or your descendants in the future.