Genealogy one of the fastest growing hobbies
Paul Williams ‘work is never done.
“There’s always another stone to turn over, another person to find, another fact to glean,” says the 65-year-old genealogy buff. I think today, so many people are in such a fast pace that they don’t have time to stop and think about their families. They’re worried about their jobs, how much money they have to make, how they’re going to pay for things and what they’re going to buy next, rather than thinking about family.”
But Williams thinks often of his, as evidenced by the mound of books, the multiple binders and pamphlets and the yard-long chart spread out before him on a table at his Broomfield ranch house Monday morning. The chart has room for nine generations, some 500 names.
“On one line, I’ve got 12 generations going back to 1532,” Williams says.
Williams took over the role of family historian from his mother, Florence Andersen Williams, who had a penchant for writing down everything and for hanging onto items others might have long forgotten.
ROOTED IN HISTORY: Genealogy buff Paul Williams, of Broomfield, looks through an 1880s hand-mitten cookbook from his grandmother’s home in Nebraska. He has relatives from Denmark and England in his family tree
There are autograph books with signatures of Florence’s school- mates, the browning pages decorated with stick-on pictures of roses and angels, perfect penmanship and poetic messages. Then there are the booklets with stories about Williams’s great-grandfather, Mads Andersen, whose inventions during the late 1800s revolutionized the farming industry in Williams’s native Nebraska.
Williams, who owned Computer City, formerly located in Broomfield’s Villager Square, does much of his family research on the Internet. Williams was one of the first on the Information Superhighway because of his experience with computers, and he uses Family Tree Maker, a popular genealogy software program, to track new findings about his family.
Then there’s the Genealogy Club, a group Williams started in June that has since grown to 30 members of varying ages.
“And it’s growing,” Williams said. “Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the United States.”
The group meets monthly to trade research tips and new discoveries. Two of the members are professional genealogists, who have provided a wealth of information, especially when Williams learned of a book that contained a chapter about his great-grandfather’s life in Nebraska.
The book was written in Danish, and it would have cost plenty to have the passage translated. The professional club members, however, suggested Willams contact the
editor of a Danish newspaper who ultimately translated the passage for free.
“It gives you a lot of pride in what your ancestors have done,” Williams said. “But I think sadly in our society today, people are not often involved in genealogy until they get to be my age. They take a great deal of interest then, but, in most cases, the people who have the information are gone.”
The Genealogy Club meets 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the Senior Center, 280 Lamar St. in Broomfield. Call Paul Williams at (303) 460 – 0000 for information. See BGS website for current information.
By CLAUDIA HIBBERT / Feature Writer for The Enterprise
Published with the permission of The Enterprise. The publication date is circa June/July 2000 or 2001.
Transcribed facsimile of the original newspaper clipping by Kirk Hayer, BGS Webmaster, Dec 2021.