When you tell someone you are a genealogist, you get many questions; when did you start, how long have you been tracing your family and my favorite, why genealogy? There are many answers to each of these questions. Each answer could pertain to a certain point in my genealogy life, and I am not going to go into that. A great explanation for why I started genealogy can be read on the About page.
For me, the ‘why genealogy?’ question is very simple. Because I continue to learn!
Learning is an important part of our lives, we spend about 13 years in school (not including college) learning many things. None of it is taught based on our lives or how it fit into our families lives. I am sure that attempting to do this through a history class would be difficult, unless each child had a genealogist / family historian to turn to. Lets face it, not everyone is interested in where their family came from (I shudder thinking about that). But, the simple question in class ‘Did any of your relatives fight in the Civil War?’ could bring an in-depth discussion to class when the children are old enough. Don’t we want our children to be engaged in what they are learning? Don’t we want them to see the significance of what our world went through. When you attach these stories to a family member, it becomes more than homework. It becomes the reality of your family.
There are many things that researching your family can teach. With each lesson you learn, the family begins to make more sense. The pains that you do not understand might be answered. Within the 15 years that I have been researching my family, I have learned many things that make me family make sense to me. I have a better understanding of why our family acts a certain way. With each understanding comes healing for me.
I started my genealogy journey wanting to know the basics. Who are we and where did we come from. Now, I want to know why. I will continue to look at each family document hoping to find a better understanding of who we are and how we became these people. I do this for me and for my descendants.