Have you ever wondered why we bother to spend countless hours researching genealogy and filling in the gaps in our family tree? Have you wondered why there are so many books available on the subject? I did. I wondered why it was such a big deal. What difference did it make learning about relatives who died long before I was born?
For as long as I can remember, my mother has talked about her family tree. It seemed like at least once a year she would show me the book that she has always kept of historical research on our ancestors. She also showed me an album of photos of relatives from Germany and a couple of family heirlooms that she kept with them.
I didn’t truly appreciate the importance of our family tree until I became pregnant with my son. Suddenly, it became clear to me that I needed all of the information that my mother had spent years collecting. I also needed that same information for my son’s father’s side of the family.
My son would need to have his own family tree and he would look to me to find the answers he needed. It was then that I started a family tree for him. That was also when I found out there wasn’t much information available from his father’s side. His father didn’t have a family historian in his household like I did.
I don’t know what my son’s interests will be. I do know that family history can help answer questions for children and also provide helpful information for future hobbies and interests. My son may want to know everything that I know about my grandfather fighting in the war. He may also want to know what percentage of Choctaw Indian his great-grandmother was.
There is a lot of research that I need to do to fill in the information that I am missing. Luckily, there is a lot of great information available for learning how to start a family tree, for doing research online and for gathering information from other sources. I enjoy learning about our ancestors and putting together the missing pieces of our family tree puzzle.
It comforts me to know that the research I do and the time I spend collecting this information will not be in vain. It is something that will continue to be passed down from generation to generation. It will provide information about what our ancestors did and what they stood for. That is the importance of a family tree.