Genealogy is the study of the descendants of a common ancestor of an individual, family or group. I know that because I looked it up. Beyond that information, holy crap is it the most time consuming, boring, fraught-with-shoving-a-pen-in-your-eye frustration over not finding anything and then... more nothing... until... one name. Then another. For a non-specialists, this kind of research can take years depending on the family. My own grandmother spend 30 years checking all over the Midwest, England and Ireland and came up with a drunken wedding where everyone there just made up a name. Research end.
For specialists, genealogical research can still take copious amounts of time, money and talent. Training, tools and boatloads of experience come into play when combing through thousands of newspapers, records and microfilm. One researcher told me, "I have no idea what I am looking for, but I will know when I find it." That just about sums up the entire genealogy experience.
Now, I am not saying that this is impossible. Some folks have the family Bible lying on their end table right now with all the names and relatives fully intact. But for those with person-to-person ownership or, like me, drunken parties, this can be a tough piece of business especially for the time periods when records were fairly scarce. But times they are a'changin. Hell, I bet in twenty years, Facebook will be a valuable genealogy tool. Just do not de-friend your Great-Aunt Ester because she keeps leaving Bible quotes on your girls night out posts. Your granddaughter just might want to see that.