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Why Genealogy Rocks!

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

I just finished watching this evening’s episode of “Who Do You Think You Are”, and it got me really excited. With my love of all things history and genealogy, this show really can do little wrong in my book. But tonight’s spotlight on Cindy Crawford was especially exciting. The show led her to Massachusetts and Connecticut, where her ancestors fled to escape the religious oppression in England. And I couldn’t help but notice that they settled in New Haven, the same colony as my early ancestors (though mine were accused of witchcraft there). From New England, Cindy traveled to the UK and discovered a familiar name far back in her family tree: Charlemagne. Well, what do you know, Cindy? We’re related! To be fair, I think most people of the Western persuasion can trace their roots back to Charlemagne if they try really hard, but it’s still fun to know that her family has a common root with mine and followed a very similar path through history.


So, in honor of my favorite pass time, here are some reasons you should be studying your genealogy (if you’re not already):


1. It’s fun!


Finding out where you come from is fun. We can’t all jet around the globe like the celebrities on TV, simply opening our hands to whatever historic documents a professional genealogist can find. But we can all enjoy our own journey into discovering our roots. Okay, so not everybody finds digging through historical records by the hundreds fun. But I can guarantee you, it will be really exciting when you find what you’re looking for! And all your hard work will only make you appreciate it that much more.


2. It will connect you with history.


Before I started researching my genealogy, history was only somewhat interesting to me. Sure, I sat in my required college classes and learned what I was supposed to, but it had no real life. Now, when looking into so many different chapters of history, I can pinpoint where my family were at the time, and just how much particular events affected their lives. Long ago battles and incidents take on new meaning when I know someone with my blood, someone who gave me life, helped to shape them.


3. Your family will thank you.


I’ll be honest. My family pretty much himmed and hawed when I first told them I wanted to find out more about our ancestry. I saw eyes glazing over, faces about the smack into the nearest couch pillow out of sheer boredom. Some of them actually told me not to bother, thinking our family’s heritage couldn’t be traced. Now where are they? Happy and extremely thankful that I took the time to build our tree. I don’t think anyone expected to find tales of witch hunts, or ancient royalty, or pictures of family we never knew existed.


4. You will have awesome stories to tell.


My family history is rich with compelling stories, and I bet yours will be, too. I now have tales of early colonials, of Revolutionary war soldiers, of axe murders and prominent public officials. Every family is like a puzzle with millions of pieces, all waiting to be joined together. What’s even more fun is that they connect us with the world around us, with people we would never have otherwise identified with. You may walk away from your experience as I have, with a plethora of intriguing tales with which to entertain the masses. Oh, how I can’t wait to one day pen those novels!


5. Your heritage will never be forgotten.


Your ancestors did a lot to make you. Many of them set sail across a vast ocean, docking on an unknown shore to begin new life. Many braved the dangers of trekking across miles of desert to have a home and land to call their own. They lived, bore children, toiled, and died, entire lives that deserve respect and acknowledgement. Just this month, I discovered that a picture in my family album was none other than a sheriff of San Francisco. Without my investigation, that photo might have been lost to history. Now he can be honored as he should be, as every one of your ancestors should be. When we accomplish this, our names and lives are then added to a long list of predecessors, all one family and lasting legacy.


So, whether you’re a history buff like me or just plain curious, start digging! You never know what cool stuff you may uncover. I recommend familysearch.org. Not to rag on other sites, but I just can’t afford to pay for the massive amount of research I do. Be careful about free trials if you go that way. Read the fine print in order to avoid what I discovered–14 days sometimes means 10!


And happy digging! I hope you all find as much fulfillment as I do in exploring the unknown world of your ancestry!

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