The most popular question I get when I say I’m a genealogist, besides “will you do my genealogy”, is “why should I care about my genealogy?” It’s at this moment that I have to remind myself that not everyone is a big nerd like me. Haha! Anyways, with this post I’m going to do my best to convince you why you should care about your genealogy.
Knowing Who You Are
Okay, so your genealogy isn’t going to tell you what you’re destined to do in life, but sometimes it can help shed a light on one of you passions. When you start looking into your ancestors’ occupations or hobbies, sometimes you find that you have something in common. Take music for instance. Maybe you like to play the guitar and everyone in your immediate family can’t understand why. When you start digging into your genealogy, you find a great-grandfather who played guitar and his father played guitar and so on. You instantly find a connection to your past and realize your passion is part of your history and your future.
Ownership in History
While in school we all had to memorize important dates and historical facts, without really understanding what the point was. What if, when researching your ancestors, you find someone who had their hand in making history? That might make that historical fact a bit more important to you, right? For example, my research specialty is the Revolutionary War era. Researching my ancestors during this time in history has not only provided me with many great stories, but it has also given me a new sense of pride during holidays such as the 4th of July. When history becomes personal through your ancestors, you gain a new perspective on what those who lived it actually went though.
Now this reason I’ll go into a little more in-depth h in a later post because there is so much to talk about! On the surface, DNA can tell you most of your genetic makeup. It can break it down and really tell you what nationalities you are. I know what you’re thinking, you already know that your family came from Ireland and everyone in your tree is Irish. Think again! There is a video that has been making the rounds about genealogy and DNA. They talked to a lady from France and asked if she would like to take a DNA test. She said sure, but she could already tell everyone that she was French, her parents were French, and her grandparents were French. Imagine her surprise when her DNA test came back and she had absolutely no French DNA ancestry! She was actually British!
Answering the Unanswered Questions
This one can be a bit tricky and can sometimes backfire on a reason why you should be interested in your genealogy. We all have those stories in our family tree that are basically family folklore. Some stories are good and some are bad, but we all have a part of us that wants to know the truth. Genealogy research allows us to be our own family detectives. To follow where the paper trail goes and answer the questions that have been plaguing our past. While family trees don’t always have perfect branches, it is a combination of all the stories that have shaped not only our families, but our own lives.
I could keep going on and on about why you should care about your genealogy, but lucky for you, I don’t have the time! While finding your ancestors may be no easy task, the rewards it gives you can be bountiful. So the next time you wonder why you like something, or why you do something a certain way, the answer just might be with your ancestors.