Genealogy and Seniors

Kimberley Fowler has written an introductory article that describes some of the reasons why senior citizens are often attracted to genealogy. She writes:

“Retirees across America are leaving their families an unconventional legacy — knowledge of their family’s ancestral roots. In the age of the internet, ancestry and genealogy research has increased with additional access to online historical records.Genealogy and Seniors

“Older adults who are retired and have time on their hands are taking advantage, making “genealogy the second most popular hobby in the U.S., after gardening,” according to Time.”

You can read the full article in a Place for Mom blog at:


This is very true. I began digging into my family history (and my wife’s) when I retired a few years ago. I now know more about our families’ roots than our parents and grandparents. This would have been nearly impossible without the Internet, as my family history is spread all over the US and back into several parts of Europe.


    I like your comment! It’s good to hear that from other amateur genealogists, because most of the younger members of my family are just not that interested or excited at my “discoveries!” Hopefully, they will appreciate it more in the future! But I find genealogy highly entertaining and am always offering to help my friends get started on their own family research!


I seem to recall that ‘second after gardening’ comment over the last several decades.


Very true! After retirement, I found out that you couldn’t work an eight hour day and do Ancestry too! It is just too time consuming, but well worth it.


The only problem is that by coming to genealogy so late in life, we lost the opportunity to mine the memories of our parents and grandparents. Oh, the questions that could have been answered 40 years ago!


    So true! However, as a relatively young child, I used to spend time with my great-uncle, swinging on his wide front porch. He got the third degree from me about where he lived when he was a boy, what his daddy did, who his cousins were! And, amazingly, years later I was able to remember most of what he told me which helped me answer some questions I had in my research!


I am among the crowd starting genealogy after retirement and lucky enough to have a mother that lived til 97, 6 years after my retirement so I peppered her with questions during our weekly phone call. Answers included information she might not have spontaneously recalled although her mind was sharp until the end.


I grew up hearing my father constantly telling us we were related to Lydia Pinkham. He also told us about being “part Indian”. I never paid any attention to genealogy until he passed away. As I was going through his property, I found a genealogy tree he had started showing a relationship to Lydia Pinkham. So, once I retired, I took up the search of my ancestors. I soon found that I was addicted to genealogy. I spend hours a day working on my research. We have also taken many trips just for any benefit in our research efforts. My wife seems to be having all the luck finding her family and documents pertaining to them. I just don’t have that kind of luck no matter how much I search. By the way, we are NOT related to Lydia Pinkham. And after having my DNA tested with Ancestry DNA, we are not part Indian!!


I’m sorry but I’m going to have to raise a bit of a small red flag of annoyance: retired people do not have “time on their hands.” They have exactly as many minutes each day as any of the rest of us. Retired people USE their time in different ways than those who are employed. Language matters, and the phrase “time on their hands” indicates a good deal of lassitude, boredom, and at least no creativity about how they choose to use the time. My observation suggests that retired people generally marvel that they ever had time to work, since they are so overtaken with all the volunteer gigs, reading, writing, research, etc. they had to postpone while laboring to live and save for their retirement.


I agree with Betsy! Before retirement, I used to say that I worked 11 days a week – teaching 5 full days 9-3 and 4 evenings 6-9, plus managing, cleaning, gardening, etc. on Saturday & Sunday at a small apartment building I owned. Post-retirement, I’ve been obsessed with digging up my roots – traveling to cemeteries, libraries, and locations where my ancestors lived, and collating my findings which, so far, include 3 Mayflower Compact signers and 23 Revolutionary War Patriots. I can’t imagine how I ever found time to work at anything other than learning about the histories of my thousands of fascinating cousins !


I was interested in the family history prior to retirement but did not have the time with a family to support, etc. Mom died the year I retired and I wish I had gotten more info from her. Dad lived on and he was an invaluable help. Mom’s sister helped me also. It’s too bad some of the younger family members don’t show more interest in the “tree” as there is so much I can now tell them and then they could go on from there at their convenience.


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