I have been teaching English for many years, but before that time I worked as an editor.
I like both activities very much and do both as much as I can. I have always had a keen interest in English grammar and literature and I like to write stories and essays. In addition to these things, I enjoy researching things. I am always researching topics of interest to me. Sometimes these are questions about grammar, but just as commonly they can be about art history, architecture, sociology, politics or many other areas of interest. One of my favorite things to research is my genealogy. I have been researching actively the history of my ancestors since I was thirteen years old. I have spent a lot of time in archives and libraries which I think is quite fun, but I also have spent just as many hours walking through cemeteries, historic parks or houses. I think that family tree research is an interesting hobby because it allows us to discover so much about the past about human psychology and social history. It also has the advantage of teaching us much about ourselves. There is no pursuit that I can think of that requires a researcher to know so much about so many subjects: graphology, law, medicine, history, languages and linguistics.
The search is most of the fun and it is like a puzzle that you have
to solve using whatever skills and resources are available to you, but
sometimes success is just the result of luck and timing. I was once
contacted by a clerk from a thrift shop who was asked me questions about
my genealogical research which I found quite odd. She eventually
explained to me that her purpose for contacting me was to determine if I
might be interested in some materials that had been anonymously donated
to them. These materials were mainly books from the 19th-Century,
but also tintype photographs. The most interesting thing about this
collection was that it contained an old family bible which had recorded
inside the births and deaths of many of my relatives. The publication
date of this bible was 1829, so it was quite old. The other books also
contained genealogical information in the form of little notes folded
inside them as well as newspaper clippings, wedding invitations etc. The
tintype photographs were also of my relatives, and I have spent many
hours and contacted many people in an effort to identify exactly who all
of the people are in these photos. It has not yet been possible to
identify all of the people, but I have identified many of them. It is
has been a fun project and I have met many people trying to learn all I
can from this cache of miraculously discovered objects.
James Maxwell, Former LOS Consultant