Knowing Your Family History: Is It Important To You? by Bob Lowry
I will admit that I am not terribly interested in my family’s history. I come from a small family, not a lot of nieces and nephews, aunts, or uncles. I’m not excited about tracing my family tree back through many generations. Even when we lived in Salt Lake City, home of the nation’s largest genealogical research library, I wasn’t moved.
My wife is more involved than I. Her family is large, with lots of branches on her family tree. A few notebooks are crammed with the kinds of details that serious seekers of family history love. At one point, I remember a distant relative did visit us to share letters, birth certificates, and other official-looking pieces of paper with Betty. She joined one of the on-line sites to help her with her explorations. While the interest is still there, her family searches have been relegated to a back burner for now.
In doing a little research for this post, I ran across Genealogy In Time Magazine. One of its articles presented answers as to why someone would find all of this interesting or important. If you want to read the full article, click this link. In summary, some of the reasons include validating family stories, tracing medical conditions or land ownership, finding birth parents and any links to famous people or historical events.
Frankly, I hadn’t considered some of these reasons for engaging in family research. Since I like exploring things on the Internet and am naturally somewhat curious about things I don’t understand, I see this whole area in a somewhat different light. I have been told there is a connection somehow in my family to Daniel Boone but have never validated it.
I remember reading at one time that Barack Obama was related to Dick Cheney. Now, there is an odd couple. Mr. Obama was also linked with George Washington and Rush Limbaugh. See, it gets stranger by the minute!
Maybe that’s the trigger for people to get hooked by family history research. Besides Daniel Boone, maybe I share some blood with Abe Lincoln or Al Capone. Maybe I don’t want to know that.
What about you? Are you interested in all the twists and turns of your family’s past? Do you have old documents that trace your ancestors back to some historical event? Or, like me, do you prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. You aren’t particularly motivated to learn about all that?
I am quite interested in what you have to say. Maybe the challenge of using the Internet to trace my side of the family back a few hundred years would be fun. Maybe not. What you have to say may inspire me, or help solidify my current status of someone not all that fascinated.
Frankly, I will be paying very close attention to your thoughts.
By Bob Lowry