Mom was the first one in our family to catch it. She really got a bad case. That’s one reason I’m addicted now. She passed it on to me and I’ve had it for a good 25 or 30 years now, I guess.

Genealogy does that to you—just one innocent little introduction and you’re hooked for life. Oh, the symptoms may ebb and wane from time to time, but it’s always there, just under the surface, ready to erupt into a full-blown case of digging-through-courthouses-and-tracking-down-cemeteriesresearchitis. It’s an addictive itch that never gets fully scratched. It gets into your bones.

I’ve started hanging out with a bunch of other family history addicts down at the Genealogy Society. It’s a safe haven and a great place to get good information. We feed each other’s habits. They’re a good group, always supportive. We call ourselves volunteers, but, for most of us, it’s more than that. We’d move right in and crash beside the probate files if we could.

Though we’re all from different backgrounds, we’ve quickly grown into one great big unlikely family, and the old Cherry Tire building has been converted into a popular family history flophouse, I guess you could say. No one there is looking for a cure, just the next big score of great-grand-uncle Iggy’s military records or fifth-great-grandmother Amanda’s parents’ names and birth dates.

We’re on one big ancestral heritage high, and always looking to hook an unsuspecting new recruit. Come on over sometime! If we’re not at the Genealogy Society, it’s a good bet we’re at home, hunkered over the soft blue glow of a laptop way into the night, dragging our cursors through digitized census records or old newspaper websites. There are thousands of websites for genealogy junkies. Digital records are a really big hit with this crowd. We’re looking for the good stuff, and it’s stashed in the most unlikely places.

You might find us crawling around from stone to stone in the local cemetery, chalking and reading old, obscure inscriptions, dragging old skeletons out of closets and getting personally acquainted with family members who were laid to rest long ago.

Morbid? Heavens, no! We’re just trying to find a reliable source and make a solid familial connection.

I’m Joy, and I admit it—I’m legal-document-dependent, addicted to musty old attics and disintegrating vintage marriage records. Thanks, Mom.

The genealogy itch has burrowed into my bones. And I’m so glad there’s no 12-step recovery program for it.