Whether you are new to studying genealogy or would like to start, it can be overwhelming to get going. This is because there is often so much to explore that you can feel like you might get lost.
In order to have the motivation to really become an expert in all matters family history-related, it helps to have some reasons to get started. Thankfully, you have found yourself in the right place.
This article will explore nine key benefits that can be brought by studying your family history in-depth, spanning from the obvious to some really interesting and surprising discoveries.
Read on now to learn all about the amazing benefits of studying your family history.
1. Create a Sense of Empathy
Empathy is one of the most crucial tools in the world, one the world needs more of. Without it, it would be a far darker and crueler place.
That’s where family history comes into play, allowing you to understand the difficulties that your family faced, perhaps giving you a great idea of the struggles of your parents, grandparents, or even their elders.
By gaining this sense of empathy, you may become kinder to those around you, making you a much better person in the process.
2. Make New Friends
The amazing part of studying family history is the type of people that get involved in such a practice.
While it will start with you going online or studying the records at a local library, there are lots of groups that you can join, both online and in-person, that are dedicated to learning about these topics together.
This means that if you are looking for new friends or even potential partners in the future, studying your family history might be an amazing place for you to meet new people with like-minded interests.
3. Mental Stimulation
Like studying any topic in-depth, looking at your family history can help to activate crucial parts of your brain.
This can bring many mental health benefits, fighting against the effects of issues such as anxiety and depression while even warding away diseases in older age such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Perhaps it is a great topic to start looking into these days during lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, as it will keep you occupied while you are waiting for normal life to restart.
You might be so invested that you don’t even notice the time passing!
4. Learn About History
History is one of the most fascinating subjects in the world. This is especially true when considering the vast amount of events that happened in the last century, spanning pandemics, World Wars, mass migrations, and more.
No matter who you are and where you came from, it is likely that your family was also swept up in the amazing march of history.
Take this man, for example, who learned about a political murder in Ireland while researching his family. This is where family history can often intersect with the political, giving you key insights into some of the most tumultuous events of all time.
As a result of learning about this history, the following reasons will apply.
5. Learn about Your Roots
There may have always been a question lingering in your mind: where do I really come from?
Given the ways that people have moved about for most of the millennia, and a country like the USA, was made by immigrants, it is likely that your family originally came from a far different place to the one that you live in now.
By studying family history, you will be able to make new discoveries about your family and your history that you never knew.
By learning about these key parts of your history, you may discover new parts of yourself in the process; such as why you act in a particular way — which might be the result of inherited trauma — to the physical makeup of your body, to the certain types of skills that you possess.
Simply put, the possibilities are endless when it comes to family history.
6. Discover New Skills
By learning about your family history, you can discover what skills or professions they may have had.
A lot of the time, one discovers that our ancestors had professions that align with the ones that we have now, but sometimes they have been successful in other professions.
This may provide the necessary inspiration that you need to make a career change.
7. Embrace Your Culture
If you feel disconnected from the culture that you originally come from, connecting with your family history can be a surefire to increase your relationship with your ancestors, learning more about the place that you originate from in the process.
This has proven to be an especially beneficial process for people from mixed backgrounds now living in a third country, as it can give them a sense of purpose otherwise missing from living in a new place that they don’t feel especially connected to either.
8. Improve Your Physical Health
By learning about how your previous family lived, you will also find out about how they died, including any nasty diseases.
This means, for example, that if you find out that one of your elders died of a particular type of cancer, you can screen for this type of disease or alter your lifestyle to avoid the chances of getting the illness yourself.
This doesn’t just extend to physical diseases either and can span mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or even schizophrenia. Knowing about these potentially hereditary conditions can help you better prepare and invest in solutions for yourself.
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9. Fun Activity for The Family
There is no reason for you to launch into the amazing benefits that studying your family history can bring alone. In fact, it can be a fun activity for the entire family to get invested in.
By studying with your parents or children, you will find that you have something shared to bond over.
Additionally, by talking to other members of your family, you might be able to fill in the gaps through anecdotal evidence that traditional genealogy and historical research cannot fill, meaning that making use of their input is an essential part of the process.
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Alternatively, you may like to check out 9 Reasons Why I Hate Genealogy!
Please check out the following video from the BYU Family History Library. In the 71-minute video genealogy researcher James Tanner guides you on how you can improve on your genealogical research skills.
Credit: BYU Family History Library
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