Most people begin their geneology with a story that they are related to some famous person. Well when I started this journey that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to trace medical traits to see what I would pass to any children I wold have in the future. Little did I know that this journey would send me in directions I far expected to go. Like most beginning genealogist I started with the basic info. As most of you will find out the prior information is sketchy at best unless the person you are taking over from was very detail oriented. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) my families was scketchy. Therefore I began filling in the details using Family Tree Maker. I joined a local genealogy group who preached the merits of the details (birth records, census records, military, death records, etc). I put in the information and began forming patterns such as who and how many died of natural causes, strokes, etc. I put in who had migraines, allergies and any other medical information I could lay my hands on. But then the unexpected happened. Six months after Hurricane Katrina hit our area I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. ESRF, in my case due to poly cystic kidney disease, is a genetic condition. When I heard what I had, out came every death certificate I could lay my hands on. I wanted to know where I got this from. Unfortunately, I am one of the rare ones. After my doctor and I reviewed my documentation, he determined that each parent carries the recessive gene and it went dominate on me. Needless to say my younger siblings have to be checked annually because of this. If I had not worked on my family history and already had the records, I would have been devisted by this diagnosis but as it stands the past that I worked so hard to uncover gave me comfort. Your family history is more than just names and dates. It’s about the genes that make you up even the mutations of those genes. So do the research, if you find a famous relative, great, but what you really need to do is look at those people who gave you the color of your hair and eyes, your height and your medical conditions. Knowledge is power. Let this empower you.