Discovering and researching your ancestors is an exciting and interesting pastime that anyone can do. But what is the reason why people begin this hobby and just why is genealogy important?
Within this post, I will be referring to previous posts that I have written exploring just what is genealogy and just why do you research your family history.
Please check them out to learn more about this wonderful hobby.
Discussed in this post:
What Is Genealogy?
Genealogy is a very popular hobby. It is the second most popular hobby in the United States. And I would bet it is in many other countries around the world. How about the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia?
Before I continue with this post I want to ask you a question.
Do you know what is genealogy?
If you answered that it is tracing your family history, discovering everything such as the facts and the history about your ancestors then you would be wrong.
What? That’s not what it is?
I bet you are confused.
Genealogy and family history defined!
To know the difference between these two terms we need to know how they are defined.
Genealogy is defined as:
A line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor, i.e. the study and tracing of lines of descent.
And family history is defined as:
The history of a family; a narrative about this. In later use also: the study of the history of a family or families; genealogy as an area of research.
So, from these definitions, we can see that genealogy is tracing the family tree collecting facts such as names, places, and dates.
Whereas family history is building up the history of your ancestors, looking at events in their life and chronicling their lives.
For more information about the difference between these two terms why not head on over to my What Is Family History post.
Please watch this!
You may also be interested to watch the following short 2-minute video where we hear what kids think genealogy is all about.
Importance of family history!
Knowing who our ancestors were can reveal to us who we are. As you research your family tree you can also reveal medical conditions that may impact our lives.
The 20 reasons why someone would trace their genealogy discussed in the next section will also show you why this activity is important to so many of us.
Why Do Genealogy Research?
Now that you know the difference between genealogy and family history let’s look at why people research their genealogy. There are many reasons why people trace their ancestry as you will see below.
I have previously written a post looking at the question, Why Research My Family History, and also what started this fascination with our ancestry in the first place.
Within that post, I discussed 6 reasons why anyone would want to research their family history.
While researching for this post I was surprised to uncover 14 more reasons. All of these reasons can be important to you or anyone who wants to know more about their family history.
1. Confirm family tales and stories!
You may be curious whether there is any truth in the family tales and stories that have been passed down through the generations.
2. Trace ancestors’ journey!
You may be interested to discover the journey and the sacrifices that your ancestors made to reach the new world. Was it to find work, escape poverty, or another reason?
3. Preserve the family’s history!
Do you have family heirlooms that need to be preserved? You may want to discover the history behind these artifacts and the people that once owned them. The same can also be said for traditions and culture as well.
4. Family history research passed down!
A relative of yours may have already started to trace your family tree. I became addicted to researching my ancestry due to the many years that my father had spent discovering our ancestors.
5. Finding relatives!
The discovery and connecting with cousins that you do not even know exist may interest you, and so you want to seek out and discover them.
Or, you may want to reconnect with relatives that have separated.
6. Related to anyone famous!
You may want to explore whether you indeed have a famous relative in your family tree.
7. Involvement in historical events!
You may want to know just how your ancestor was involved in a historical event or occasion.
8. Inheriting medical condition!
To discover whether there is a medical condition that has been passed down to you. Or whether there is a possibility that you may inherit the condition.
9. Family inheritance!
You may want proof that you are related to someone that has recently passed away. And so you want to make that connection to receive an inheritance.
10. Land or heirloom ownership!
Similar to the previous reason you may want to prove whether you have an entitlement to an area of land. Or there may be some object that you wish to prove ownership of.
11. Resemblance to a family member!
Is there a resemblance between you and someone that you have seen in an old photograph? If so then you may want to learn how you are related to that person.
12. Find birth parents!
You may want to discover your birth parents or the birth parents of someone that you are researching.
13. Perform a paternity test!
Similar to the reason above you may want to confirm whether someone is your biological father.
14. Religious tenet!
You may want to satisfy the tenets of a church that you would like to join.
15. Discover the history of the community!
Learn how your ancestors shaped the community in which they lived.
16. Historic studies research!
Whether this is for academic or personal reasons you may want to research the importance of an important or famous family.
17. Join a heritage society!
To join a heritage society, you may have to provide proof that you are related to a particular family.
18. Researching family names!
Are there any strange or unusual names that appear in your family tree? If so then you may be interested to learn the origin and meaning behind these names.
You may also want to discover who you have named after. Is there an ancestor that shares your name?
19. Understanding family records!
If you have recently discovered old letters, journals, records, diaries, the family bible, or whatever you may want to learn more about them and the people that they belong and refer to.
20. Preserve your family legacy!
If you feel passionate about your family history you may want to research all that you can so that it can be passed down to your children, their children, and so on.
I would like to credit the Genealogy In Time website, in particular, the Why Genealogy Is Important article.
I knew that there were several reasons but before writing this post I was not aware that there were so many before arriving at this site.
Benefits of genealogy
Given the reasons that I have outlined above you can see that many benefits can arise from tracing one’s ancestry.
So, if you want to settle a dispute over a family heirloom, are curious whether your great-grandfather actually was at Dunkirk, or if you are related to Abraham Lincoln then genealogy research can help you to discover the truth.
Why Do You Research Your Family History?
Now you know the 20 reasons why people may want to research their genealogy. So, the question remains!
Why do you want to research your family history?
Is it one of the reasons that I have outlined above? It could even be more than one reason. Or maybe it is something that I have not included in this list.
Please tell me what started you on your family history journey and why it is so important to you.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed reading about why is genealogy important. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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