Positive Advantages to Researching Your Ancestors

You might have started doing family history for your own personal reasons or because you were asked to do so by a family member. Generally, it is just one or two in a generation willing to do the work of documenting the past relatives and the living ones.

That documenting include locating any aspects of an ancestor’s life to highlight it as a story. So why do that part,m why not just the list of name and dates (a family tree)?

The advantages of having more information on ancestors can include the very fact that ‘everyone needs to be remembered’. It may just be one aspect of their life – their schooling, her military service or career – whichever, it does add a greater dimensional to who that person was and what they achieved.

Most of your ancestors you never knew and they didn’t know you but you and your family today are a product of those ancestors. An excellent example is the thousands of immigrants who left their native homeland in Europe or Asia to search for a new and improved life for themselves and their future generations – that is YOU. They were concerned about themselves, their present family and their unknown future great grandchildren. That meant a great deal unknown to face – but they did it. You really do learn more about yourself and how you achieved what you have by knowing more about your ancestors.

Another advantage is possibility of solving any family mysteries. Your grandmother may have once commented she didn’t know what happened to her young brother (your great uncle). With some time spent on the research you just might be able to solve that mystery. In doing my family’s history I also worked to uncover the facts on several family legends handed down over the generations. One legend was that an ancestor had served as the personal aide to General George Washington during the American Revolution. With careful research, I found that ancestor had served during the American Revolution but was the aide to George’s cousin, Col. William Washington. See some legends can be based on a trace of facts but still need to be made accurate.

Finally, a great advantage is preservation. Just like many people work to preservation our natural resources or vintage buildings, saving and preserving one’s family history is very important. Even if an earlier ancestor did a complete family history, guess what, there is still much that can be added. I did that with my mother’s family she had written, locating many more details and providing proof to her information or correcting any errors. It was truly worthwhile.

Photos: Researching photos and documents; off-line research in the library and check family letters and documents.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

On Track with Family Research

Family History Ideas

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