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The Importance of Knowing Your Family History

Why Do Family History Research?

Have you ever been curious about your ancestors? Wondered what their plight was like? Perhaps they were the first generation in your family to live in the United States and had to learn a whole new language and customs. Maybe you have a photo album filled with old pictures and just aren’t sure who many of the people in the photos are. There could be rumors that a family member played a major part in World War I or was an early Hollywood actor.

Whether your motivation to do some family history research is purely personal or not, there are actually many good reasons to learn more about the generations who lived before you. Studies have shown that learning about your family history can lead to a positive effect on younger generations  and keep the family functioning successfully.

Finding Family History – Why It’s Important

First of all, finding about more about your family can be a truly eye-opening experience! Some of the most important things you can learn through family history research are:

  • Discover personal history. Your family’s personal history can be simply fascinating! Maybe you’ll find out that your great-grandmother was studying to be a pharmacist or that your grandfather had a number of patented inventions. You can not only learn where your ancestors came from, the languages they spoke and the religion they practiced, but also personal stories, like how your great-grandparents met and fell in love.
  • Family involvement in the community. By researching your family history, you may learn things about your home town that you never knew before. It’s even possible that your ancestors helped found the town where much of your family still resides.
  • Sharing life advice. It’s well known that we can learn from the mistakes made by others before us. Many of our aging loved ones can offer words of wisdom about a variety of topics, which we can share with future generations.
  • Medical history. 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. This is one of the single most important reasons to do family history research.
  • Preserve family traditions or cultures. Keeping the traditions your family cherishes going is important to keep future generations involved and some of the cultures of your family’s country of origin alive.
  • Reconnect with other family members. As you’re diving into your family history, you might be able to reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with over the years. You might even discover you have nearby relatives you may not even know about!

As you do your family history research, be sure to share what you’ve found with other family members. Learning and sharing the stories, customs, and even how ancestors may have overcome tragedy can help preserve your current family circle, keeping the history alive for generations to come.

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