Everyone has their own reasons for why they have selected genealogy as their hobby. For some people, it is an innate interest in history that drives them to learn more about their ancestors. Perhaps you have a genealogist in your family, whose research has inspired you to do some digging of your own. Or, maybe you are one of the people who simply finds genealogy interesting and cannot get enough of it.
Not everyone automatically finds genealogy to be a satisfying pastime, however. In part, I think this is because most people only have a vague idea about what genealogy is, or why it is important. Do you find yourself wondering if genealogy is something you would enjoy? Before you make up your mind, read over a few great reasons why you should start working on genealogy.
You can pass your family tree, and your genealogy research, onto your children. It’s a good way to emphasize the importance of family. It can answer a lot of questions about who your child is related to, and in what way. It’s possible that your genealogy work will be added onto by one of your children, or one of their children.
There are certain medical conditions, mental disabilities, and other things that might be in your family tree that it would be advisable to know about. Some families have a lot of ancestors who developed a certain kind of cancer. Other families have a history of mental illness. The likelihood of giving birth to twins can be estimated by determining how many twins are in your family tree, and what generation they were born into. You, or your future descendants, might find this information to be very valuable.
It can be fun to satisfy your own curiosity about what your ancestor’s lives were like. You might find photos that show what a person looked like. Do you look anything like your great great grandmother? Does your child? You may come across old letters, which tell a little story about what your ancestor was doing, thinking, and interested in. It would be cool to see a sample of your ancestor’s handwriting.
You enjoy solving mysteries. Every family tree has some gaps, or some relatives that are missing from the branches, because they are difficult to find information on. Maybe you can finally solve the mystery of whatever happened to the youngest sister of your great great grandfather. Perhaps you will be able to answer questions that your family has been wondering about for generations!
Are you someone who enjoys doing research? Do you get excited when you locate the perfect source to back up what you have been studying? There are people who aspire to be “perpetual students”. If your experiences in college, or grad school, sparked a love of doing research, then genealogy might be the perfect hobby for you.
Image by Feodora Umarov on Flickr