Reasons to Learn Your Family History

family history researchFor some people, the motivation to learn their family history is just a simple matter of personal curiosity. Perhaps you found a photo album full of family pictures and have no idea who any of the people in them are. Or, maybe you’ve heard stories about a relative having a major involvement in World War I and want to know more. Maybe you’ve heard a rumor about a loved one meeting the president of the United States and can’t believe it’s true.

Whether your curiosity has been peaked by a certain event or a story, there are many reasons to do some research on your family history. It’s important to know where you came from to help preserve your family history for generations to come.

Do Your Family History Research

Taking some time to research your family history can lead to a fulfilling and eye-opening experience. Some of the important things you can learn about include:

1)      Medical history. One of the most important reasons to learn your family history is so you are aware of any medical conditions that are hereditary. Knowing the health issues your ancestors dealt with will allow you to be aware of the risks you have of developing the same problems, and you can talk to your doctor about better preventing them.

2)      Personal history. Knowing how your great-grandparents met, the hardships they faced and overcame, and how they started their lives together can be fascinating. Learning where they came from, the languages they spoke and the religion they practiced. You might learn things you never knew before- like maybe your grandmother was an excellent square dancer or that your great-grandfather invented a variety of gadgets that became patented.

3)      Ancestral involvement in historical events. You can gain an understanding of your ancestor’s involvement in historical events. It’s possible your loved one rubbed noses with famous people or participated in specific battles during the Civil War.

4)      Crucial life advice. Many of our aging loved ones can offer words of wisdom about a variety of topics.  Or, we can learn from their past mistakes as we research them. We can share this advice with future generations.

5)      Community history. It’s possible that your ancestors helped found the town where your family still resides. By researching your family history, you may learn things about your home town that you never knew before, too.

Whatever your reasons for doing some family history research, studies have shown that knowing as much as you can about your background can lead to a positive effect on future generations. Maybe you’d like to create a family tree. Plus, children who know their family history tend to feel like they are part of something bigger, and this leads to a successfully functioning family.

Take time when you are visiting your aging loved ones to develop a narrative with them. Learning their stories, traditions and even their tragedies and how they overcame them will allow you to preserve your family history, keeping the memories alive for generations to come.

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