It is surprising, no, I would not be exaggerating if I said, it is amazing what you can find out from a birth, marriage or death certificate. The trouble is, you can be left with lots of tantalizing questions to ask that may not be easily answered, if, indeed, they can be answered.
Most genealogically-minded people eventually produce a chart of the ancestors and for domestic consumption only, the immediate descendants. That is what the protocol advises; no-one born in the last 50 years or so, should be published on a public site, to protect identities and children. You can tell when you are visiting a happy genealogist, there will be a wall covered in one chart design or other, detailing from whom they have descended. There might even be the glimmerings of a family branch line being developed. They really do want you to notice and have you ask about their family research.
The obsessed genealogist will have paper files and files on computer. S/he will have produced a book or booklet, maybe more than one of each, though where the published documents lie, is anyone’s guess. When two such people accidentally meet and discover their joint major interest, it is best to take a back seat, to watch, wait, and hear, what develops. One will want to lay claim to be more expert than the other; one will rush to tell how much work has been published in their name. A competition is in progress. It is like watching a joust; who will give way?
The question that arises in family history research, is, how far do you want to go in finding out who you are? How much will accidents of geography allow you to walk the path to the answers that you seek? It is relatively ‘easy’ for you to obtain information if all your links have been in one country for two or three hundred years, or even more, and there are ways and means of accessing historical data. If this is the case, another question arises, where do you stop?