Genealogy is one of my grand passions. I picked up this obsession to learn about my ancestors and their lives from both of my grandmothers - long before this current interest of finding one's family. It also helps that I'm just plain nosey.
My maternal grandmother always talked about her family, and I was extremely lucky that this grandmother lived (and stayed fairly alert) until I was 53 years old. She was always helpful and extremely interested in what I had found no matter which family line I was working on.
My paternal grandmother lived with us from the time I was 5 or 6 until I was in the ninth grade, and yet, I knew very little about her. She seldom talked about her family. (I now realize she seldom actually talked to us. It was always "just a relative", "someone from church" or "a friend" is coming to visit.) Her lack of sharing made me extremely curious to find out about her family. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was a senior in high school.
The grandfathers also played a part in wanting to know more about their families. (Don't want to leave them out!) My maternal grandfather was from Missouri. He talked about his home and his family as if they were very dear to him. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was four, and since no one talked about his family, I had to find out about them.
Until I started looking for my ancestors, history was just a series of events that happened - mostly dry and boring. I could take it or leave it. But, as I was doing research, I suddenly realized real people - people I was related to -were involved with historical events. (DUH!) Suddenly history was interesting and important.