Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Genealogy?

Top Five Reasons to Research Your Family Tree:

1.  Self- discovery.

 To quote Plato, "Know Thyself." You can never really know where you are going in life unless you understand where you came from.  Do you know the names of all your great-grandparents?  Unless you are from Kentucky, there are eight of them. Where did they live?  What were their occupations? How many children did they have?  How old where they when they got married?  How many times were they married?! Those eight people made choices that directly impacted your very existence.  Many people never get to meet their great-grandparents, genealogy is a great way to "meet" them!

2.  Pride.

Before I started to research my family tree, I always assumed that I was a second or third generation American.  I was a political science and history major in college.  I have always admired the American political system and enjoyed studying its history, but had never felt a personal connection to those "stories."  I have uncovered branches of my family tree that go all the way back to Colonial times.  In a way, I now feel more "American."

3.  Don't make fun of Canadians.

If Lucille Cottingham Holly Sommers is your grandma, you are 1/4 Canadian. Start watching hockey! Own it.

4.  It's in our Jeans Genes

I have had an autosomal DNA test done at www.23andme.com.  If you and I are related, we share DNA passed down by our commons ancestor(s).  My DNA testing not only reconfirmed genealogical information, but provided a health and trait report which informed me of my carrier status for genetic diseases, likely drug responses and disease risks. The site also matches you up with "relatives."  More on this later!

5.  You get to be a detective.

Our family tree is twisted (in more ways than one)!  I enjoy solving problems and doing research.  Nothing is more thrilling to me than to uncover something new.  Genealogy has been a great hobby for me, especially on those LONG Indiana winter days or when baby is napping. One word of warning: when researching your family tree, you may not always like what you find.  The best thing about studying history is that you can learn from the mistakes of your ancestors.  History does not have to be repeated.

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