Having been transplanted from the UK to New Zealand when I was four years old, I knew little of my extended family other than what my parents were able to tell me.
I grew up on stories of my mother's Scottish family. The characters and stories she told me were real and tangible and stimulated my imagination. They gave me a sense of belonging and a feeling of Scottishness. Helped me feel more accepting about having an annoying Gaelic name that no one could pronounce. I always felt very Scottish.
My father's family however, was something of a mystery. I'd met a couple of his relatives, and I'd met my paternal grandfather when I was very young, but knew little about him.
My father also knew very little about his family. His mother died of TB when he was a few months old, and he was brought up with a neighbour's family.
I was living in London, when my father asked me to look up some info at the Family Records Office for him. He'd been writing his life story and trying to piece together info from his older surviving relatives including his older sister.
I did the look up for him - and that was it. I was bitten by the bug and have been obsessed ever since.
The hobby, led to a new career, and the rest as they say is HISTORY (or in this case HERSTORY LOL)