I also thought that I was the first one in my family to keep bees. Then one day about two weeks ago, my mother told me that her father used to have bee smokers and gathered honey when she was a little girl; she liked to play with the smokers. This was back in the late 30s and early 40s, so I never knew anything about it.
I got started by accident, when my cousin was starting to clear land to build a house. He cut down a bee tree and had it cut into lengths for firewood. I was there in the cold early spring weather one morning and seen some dead bees around one of the sections that had to be split up for firewood. He was going to push them into a brush pile and burn them! I felt sorry for the bees, so I brought them home, waited on warmer weather, then put them into some hive bodies....and the rest is history!
I was always interested in bees, but never did anything about it until 'they needed me'. Now I am addicted to the point that my own family thinks I am crazy for 'keeping stinging insects as pets'....might be because I call them my 'girls'?