I have been researching my Fields family for about eight years. I wish I had a dollar for every hour of research I have invested, but I also think the rewards I have received, from the people I have met, and friend's I have made, far surpasses any monetary value. Sure, I would like to publish something of great genealogical value, and maby someday I will. More important is that I have learned a lot about myself and how I relate to others. I learned about the circumstances and conditions my parents and grandparents grew up in. I have gained a greater respect for them. I feel much closer to my family as a result of my research.
I have felt a need to "protect" much of the information I gleaned through my research. But, then I think about all those that have given so freely to me. Many have entrusted me with family heirlooms and personal information. I feel a responsibility to record and preserve the colorful stories and events relating to my family. I also feel a need to record and preserve my own story for my children and later generations. I have never been much of a collector but I think I have saved every postcard, birthday card, father's day card, christmas card and photograph I ever received. I have bought and sold many material possessions but I kept the things that were most important to me.
I feel like I have been on a wonderful journey through the past, present and future, and I hope it never ends.
Finally, I want to thank everyone that has, and will, share their personal story with me.