I started tracing my family tree earlier this year, using the materials gathered on both my mother's and father's sides of the family. I signed up for ancestry.com and I really have enjoyed using the material there to expand my understanding of my family's heritage.
I started out looking for my Native American heritage and my connections to certain Virginia families, found that difficult, but was surprised to find that once I traced a few lines back to England, the family trees just kept going and going and going... I discovered that not only do some of my lines go back to the Jamestown era, but that many of those early colonists' lines went back to people I had read about due to my love of history. Eventually I traced back to Eleanor of Aquitaine, in whose life I've always been interested. Well I tell ya, I was totally hooked at that point!
Many of my ties to England are in Norfolk, which is inspiring me these days to want to travel there. I was also fascinated by a connection with a Scotsman named MacGehee, or MacGregor, who came to the Virginia colony as an indentured servant to escape outlawry in the British Isles. I have not yet had the chance to get into detailed historical research about the period (which would have been during the time of the Stuart rulers), but intend to delve more deeply when I get a chance. My love of the Elizabethan period meant that I knew who the Paston family were when they turned up in my tree.
So I guess what I love best about genealogy is feeling a sense of connection, however ephemeral, to these historical figures. It inspires my growing love of history. Because I found Vikings in my family tree, I started reading about them; because I found Provencal and Savoyard connections, I learned about those cultures. I'm fascinated and enthralled by the way history unfolds when you feel that sense of connection with the people who lived it.
Anyway, that's probably enough from me. Just wanted to say hello!