Due to the nature of my occupation – and a sense of obligation because of that – I rise to the challenge of coming up with something unique for holiday gifts. Every year, I tell myself I’m starting early. So back in July, I started thinking of ideas. I was drawn to how “easy” the Ancestry.com commercials made discovering one’s roots. Hence, the “gift of genealogy” was born.

With the help of a friend who owns Branches of Discovery, a genealogy research firm, I composed family history books for both my mother and father. Jane researched back to the mid 1800s, finding census ledgers, birth and marriage records, NY boat passenger lists and much more. It was fascinating looking through the information. Learning more about my ancestors was not only interesting, but as a designer and “font junky”, I found the cursive penmanship on the documents beautiful. Handwritten letters and such have become something of the past and a dying art form.

Two interesting discoveries I did make, is that my grandfather Joseph “Guido” Martini once worked in a print shop, and somewhere in the mix, one of my ancestors was a saloon keeper. In addition to my current profession, which involves printing, I bartended for about 15 years.

It makes you wonder about the role of destiny in your life…