I live in NE Alabama, USA and am semi-retired. I made several starts and stops with genealogy over the years, collecting paper from relatives. With the advent of digitized records, it is much easier to locate documents than going through microfilms at a central location.
In addition, my grandmother had a "magic" trunk of pictures and news clippings that I inherited. This trunk and its treasures became the spark that got me working in 2009.
Since then I've made on-line friends and met distant cousins. There are American Revolutionary War, American Civil War (both sides), WWI and WWII veterans in our heritage.
My ancestors are probably all English, Scots, and Scots-Irish heritage (with a dash of Eastern Cherokee). My wife's ancestors are English, German, Welsh, Irish, and American Indian (Virginia Chickahominy).
Find-A-Grave helped me find more about direct and indirect ancestors and learn about their lives.
I hope that you also have a positive experience with your journey into the past.
PS, the photo is Lt William Newton Swift, 34th Georgia Inf Rgmt, my gg-grandmother's brother. Captured at Champion's Hill, near Vicksburg, MS, he died in Johnson's Island US POW camp January 1, 1864.