Genealogy has become a very much popular hobby in recent years. In fact, it is the 2nd most popular pastime for Americans, (and many people worldwide). Why the excitement to learn about the past anyway, just why do family history research at all?
My previous post 9 Reasons Why I Hate Genealogy did seem a bit harsh, even though I did state throughout the article that I do in fact love this wonderful hobby.
With that said I want to show you the reasons why I do love genealogy and why you should too.
5 Reasons Why I Love Family Tree Research:
- It’s An Adventure
- It Uses The Brain
- Connect With The Past
- Connect With The Present
- Preserve For The Future
Although I have not included as many reasons here as for my last post I hope that you will see how powerful they are as you read them.
Please watch this!
Check out the following 5-minute video that shows the joy that genealogy and family history research has had on several people who are interested in their ancestry.
Before you do continue reading this post I just wanted to share with you a similar post from AncestralFindings entitled Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!).
Like me, from reading Will Moneymaker’s post I see that he has a lot of passion for genealogy research and for discovering his ancestry.
Express Your Thoughts Below!
I would love to hear from you.
1. It’s An Adventure
Genealogy, or family history as you may call it, can be an adventure. It will take you to many places and you will discover a lot about your heritage along the way.
Your adventure will take you from one genealogy site to another. Or, if you’re the outdoors sort of person may be from one destination to another.
My own adventure!
I began my journey by examining family trees that my father had painstakingly researched and hand-drawn. Using his work I was then able to build on them and extend them in all sorts of directions, (or rather branches).
I have said many times on this site that genealogy is an adventure because you do not know who you will discover and what you will discover about them.
Genealogy can take you to different parts of the country, to different countries, and even to different ‘worlds’.
No, not Mars or Jupiter!
What I mean by that is that your ancestors lived in a different time, and so they had different circumstances that would have affected their decisions, (different from the ones that have shaped our lives).
They may have had to flee their homeland due to poverty, or even maybe because of war.
Joining the dots is an adventure!
Your job as the family historian is to take the clues that you find and join the dots.
This makes me come to my next reason why you should research your family tree.
2. It Uses The Brain
As a young kid, I loved solving logic puzzles. So much that I collected many puzzle books that solely included only this kind of mind game.
These puzzles, if you don’t know, help you to use your brain by deducing facts from several clues that you are given.
It’s like a logic puzzle really!
For me, genealogy is a lot like a logic puzzle. Well, kind of.
For example, through your research, you may discover that your 3rd great-grandfather originally came from England.
From that clue, you will then concentrate your research by looking for records containing your ancestor within England.
For now, you can eliminate Scotland, Ireland, and Wales from your research.
(I do realize that your research may take you to any of these countries later on, but for now, you can concentrate your efforts within the country of England).
It doesn’t really matter if you do or you don’t see the similarity between genealogy and logic puzzles.
The point is that family history research makes you use your brain.
You take what you learn about your ancestors which then helps you to unearth even more.
3. Connect With The Past
Obviously, genealogy is all about discovering who your ancestors were and everything about them. So, by joining the dots between each generation of your family tree you are connecting further and further into the past.
With each of these connections through the generations, you can see how your family has come to now.
For example, my ancestors were originally farm laborers. In order to make a better life for themselves, they learned to become shoemakers.
This new trade would then take them from the southwest of England to the south of Wales where there was an increase in populous, i.e. there was more work for them.
Of course, this is just one branch of my family tree.
There are many connections for you to make as you explore more and more of your family tree.
Your job is to find the clues so that you can connect with the past.
4. Connect With The Present
The Internet has made genealogy research a lot easier for people these days. Back 20-30 years ago you would need to go to your local archives to find records about your ancestors.
And even then researching at the archives would not take you a couple of hours. It could actually take all day to find what you were looking for.
Actually probably even longer than that as you work your way up your family tree.
The modern age of computers!
I have found so much about my ancestors through genealogy search websites. They offer so many records and information about your ancestors.
And because of them, I have built an extensive family tree containing approximately 2,000 people.
Through these sites and social media as well I have made connections with distant cousins I didn’t even know existed before I even started on this family history journey.
Share your genealogy research!
The great thing about making these connections was that they could share with me their research about our family tree.
And likewise, I would share with them what I had discovered.
This collaboration would save us both time and money researching for this information on our own.
So, you can see by connecting with your cousins and by sharing what you have learned you can uncover a lot more about your ancestors.
DNA testing can also help!
The latest and probably greatest tool that we can use to find more about our ancestry is DNA testing. There are many companies out there that offer DNA testing kits.
If you want to know which one that I recommend then you can check out my Best DNA Test For Your Ancestry Research post.
Not only can they show you where your ancestors came from but they can actually connect you with living relatives as well.
Of course, they must have chosen the same DNA testing company as you and also are willing to connect with other members.
You’d be surprised that some members DO NOT want to connect with others.
As I mentioned just above you can use these connections to learn more about your family history by sharing research with your newfound cousins.
5. Preserve For The Future
I must admit that I fell into genealogy research quite by accident. It was not my intention to research my family tree, merely just to write up the many family stories that my father recited to me and my brothers over the years.
It was only after typing up these stories that I asked my father to write down did I become more engrossed in my family history.
I became addicted to genealogy!
I first wanted to include charts that would show the relationship between each of the people that were discussed in these stories.
It wasn’t long before I became hooked and I wanted to learn more and more about them. And so I started off on my own journey.
As I stated above currently, my family tree contains 2,000 ancestors, cousins, and all sorts of relations.
Yep, I went a bit wild!
But my main objective never changed.
I wanted to preserve the stories, the anecdotes, the memories, and all the information that I gathered. I wanted to preserve them and pass them on to my children, for their children, and for the many generations to follow.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed reading about why do family history research. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below.
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8 thoughts on “Why Do Family History Research?”
Hi Owain! This is a great article… And an awesome website!
I’ve always wondered about my genealogy, my family history. It is true, just like what you said, to connect the dots.
This article just motivated me to really find my roots. Thanks for sharing.
I will bookmark your site:)
Thank you Hanna, I wanted to do genealogy justice and show how fun and exciting this hobby can really be.
I am glad that I have motivated you to research your family tree.
Thank you for bookmarking my site.you will find plenty of useful guides and tips here, as well as reviews to many products and services to help you in your family history journey.
When my cousin was doing family history research, we ended up finding my cousin Frankie we never knew before because of a custody split. Now have a connection. So awesome!
Isn’t it great when we make connections like that. It’s even better when our new found cousins share with us their family history research as well.
This is all so fascinating to me. My sister just did this through ancestry.com and found some really interesting results. She also explained that we might have a slight difference in the percentage of background like she could have more of the Italian family and I could have more of the Irish. My mind was blown. I loved reading this whole thing and am really interested in getting more into this, great read!!
Thanks for the comment Aj. Ancestry and Ancestry DNA are great for discovering your family history. I have found out so much through Ancestry, and also FindMyPast as well.
I wish your sister all the best with researching your genealogy.
What a great presentation in a family tree. I love it. It’s a nice journey to find out your family history. I love your site.
Thank you Elizabeta. It is a nice journey. Depending on how far back and how much you want to find out your journey could go on for years and years like mine.
I’ve taken a break with mine while I work on this site, but hope to resume my own journey at the end of the year.