Mungo Park
Born: 11 September 1771 in Selkirkshire, Scotland
Died: 1806 in Bussa, Nigeria

I have joined an online challenge to write about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. It is costs nothing and looks like a fun way to organize some family history. If you are researching your family tree you should try it too! You can find all the details and sign up here:

Click here to sign up for the 52 Ancestors Challenge

Every week you will receive a prompt suggesting what to write about. Week #1 is START. The prompts are intentionally broad in scope. Just to get the juices flowing. Start could be - begin the challenge by telling a little about yourself, or maybe who or what "started" you researching your genealogy. I'll do both here.

I started researching my roots in 2009. The talk radio station I was working at flipped formats from a mainly female based channel to an all sports talk channel. Because isn't that what the world needs, another sports talk radio station?😏 Our entire staff was fired with no notice. It was like a scene from that 2009 George Clooney movie Up in the Air. The one where he plays a "downsizing expert" who travels from town to town terminating people:

We were herded into the boardroom. The HR staff from headquarters in Toronto flew to Vancouver to make the big announcement. One by one we were ushered into a various offices and given our termination packages. Truth be told, I was ready to move on but was too stressed out to look for other opportunities. In hindsight it was a blessing. I got a generous termination package so I was in no big hurry to get back into the grind right away.

My former radio job was as an executive producer and some time host. I was constantly researching ideas, coming up with topics, doing interviews, booking guests, supervising or running the live shows,  trouble shooting, and so on.  It was high stress and everything was live, so no room for errors. I've always had a curious, inquisitive type personality, which was useful in my work. However, I developed an insatiable "need to know" syndrome as a side effect of this job. It's difficult to shut down.

After being fired I couldn't wait to decompress, and do something just for me. That is when I joined ancestry.ca  There have been some tall tales in my family lore, and since my researcher brain is hard wired at this point, why not check out the stories? Are we descendants of the Earl of Marr? Is my 5th great uncle (click for Wikipedia page→) Mungo Park really a famous explorer who was eaten by crocodiles in Africa? These were some of the alleged luminaries in my family line. The jury is still out on the Earl of Marr connection, but I did discover a lot about my intrepid great uncle. That is a picture of him above. Dashing fellow isn't he? In a way, his mythology inspired me to START researching my roots. It is  one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. I look forward to writing about some of my favourites in the weeks to come. I have discovered people I had never heard or dreamed of. Puritans and witches, Revolutionary war heroes and spies. A lot of huge families - one great grandfather with two wives and 23 children!

If you decide to participate in the challenge and make the info public, let me know where to find your stories  in the comments section, or send me an email.


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