Genealogy involves a lot of research. Time is spent tracking down birth certificates, military records, marriage certificates, and other official documents that contain hard facts about your ancestors. Don’t forget the softer side of genealogy! There are so many important reasons to learn about your family history.
A website called A Place For Mom commissioned a 2014 survey that was conducted by Harris Poll. The results showed that “28% of adults do not feel they know, or knew, their mother as well as they would like”.
How well do you know your relatives? Are your ancestors little more than a photograph and some numerical data about their lives? One really good way to get to know the people you share a family tree with is to gather up the stories that make up your family history. Find out what their lives were like.
It can be tempting to spend all your research time on locating documents. You may have some clues that point you towards where to begin searching for them. Finding information about family history can be more difficult. It is worth the struggle! Here are some important reasons to learn about your family history.
To Preserve It
The family stories that are shared at holidays and reunions are ones that you may have heard countless times. Write them down, or make an audio recording of a relative who is telling one of those stories. Future generations of your family will want to read or hear these stories!
To Learn About Your Heritage
What countries did your ancestors come from before they immigrated to the United States? What languages did they speak? What religion did they practice? The answers to these types of questions can be found in family history stories. You may learn things about your family that you were completely unaware of.
To Keep a Medical History
There are certain conditions and diseases that can be passed down from one generation to the next. Some of these are genetically heritable. Other health issues could be the result of a genetic predisposition that increases one’s risk of developing certain serious health problems. Find out what your ancestor’s health was like and what caused their death. Speak with your doctor about what you learned.
To Add Meaning to Photos
Who is in that old photograph? What’s happening in the photo? Are there any old family stories that are connected with it? Learning about your family history can bring you a wealth of information about the old family photos that are currently a mystery.
Image by Alan Burnett on Flickr.
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