I have been studying my family history for more than 20 years and have found it very exciting on occasion. Tonight I watched the Ancestry series "Who Do You Think You are?". I highly recommend this. You may think that your own history is common or boring or unimportant. Well you are just WRONG!
Your history might start out fairly common but the more you dig and the further back in time you go, the more interesting it can be. Many people research only their direct lines. If I had done that, I would have been "finished" about 1995. I hit my "brick wall" about then. I could not learn anything about my Mother's grt-grt-grandfather's family. All I knew was that the man's name was Samuel Porter Bayless and that he was probably born in TN. I did find him in the 1850 census but his son John, my ancestor, was not in his household. John was also in that census but he lived in GA. I couldn't connect them. What to do? Nothing left but to go around that wall! Long story, short, I looked at other family members and traced them. This included spouses. I eventually got around the wall that way and found Samuel and his family on the other side of the Appalachains in the late 1700s. From there I followed my Mother's line back to the early immigrants to this country in the 1600s. What a treat it was! Ordinary people living what for them were ordinary lives but what amazing ordinariness!
The study of genealogy can lead you to many surprises and many ordinary stories which, when viewed as a whole, can open up a world of facination and discovery. I have found preachers and politicians, teachers and artists, rich and poor, triumph and tragedy, etc., and all in my own family. Many amazing stories and even connections to the famous and infamous. It has been wonderful and is ongoing. My Father's line has been much harder to trace and I still have much to learn about both lines.
I hope that you will watch the series on NBC every Friday night. You should also be able to watch it online at NBC.com. It is inspiring but the tales of the rich and famous on the series are no more surprising and exciting than what I have learned about my own family.
Genealogy Tales: A Familiarity With Strangers (My Blog)
The Ancestors of Boss Bayless (My genealogy)