Exploring Genealogy Strengthens Family Ties

Exploring Genealogy Strengthens Family Ties

Human history is broken down into the story of families. With the population growing throughout the centuries, everyone can slowly but surely trace themselves back to a smaller and smaller pool of people. Human families have only gotten bigger, otherwise they’re pretty much changeless.

Learning the history of our own families through genealogy has picked up in popularity over the last decade or so. The cause is obvious: the proliferation of information on the Internet and increasing access to the world wide web. In short, it’s never been easier to research our family tree.

With that said, the rapid increase in digital knowledge comes with a price. The vast amount of data can overwhelm the average person, and misinformation can easily, albeit unintentionally, spread like wildfire across the Internet. This makes it sometimes difficult to reliably find the truth regarding the who, what, where, why, how, and when of your ancestors.

family-tree-297812_640Professional assistance is sometimes needed to separate the truth from a myriad of conflicting information. The services of professional genealogists include immigrant ancestor research, tracing family trees, genetic genealogy, and forensic genealogy. The “family file” will remain quite detailed, despite the successful whittling away of redundant or incorrect information.

Depending on how much you wish to discover on your own, these services may seem like “the easy way” to learn your roots. In fact, they are, but the wide range of professional genealogical services being offered can be confined to a select few just to help folks get started.

That’s what we did when we decided to venture into the family past. It started with a professional review of the genetic backgrounds of both parents, which helped us to eliminate any outstanding anecdotal claims about our heritage. For example, my great aunt always swore we had Polish blood in our veins only for the test to reveal I have 0% genes of Slavic origin.

Once you get started it’s hard to stop. If we wanted to extend our scrabble family tree to what we have now, the entire living room wall would be covered with a web of wooden names! I think we’ll settle on framing the many old photographs we’ve been able to track down and hanging them on the wall instead.

Resources for do-it-yourself genealogy can be found in the National Archives. However, it’s not a simple matter of typing in your great great grandmother’s name to get a dossier. As much as there is to learn through digitized records, many vital documents for piecing together an ancestor’s life story remain solely on microfilm. Requests and submissions are required, however it’s all virtually free of charge – unless you count paying your taxes of course.

The story of humanity is ultimately one of families. They may have gotten far larger than at any point in time, but their lineage remains intact thanks to the science of genetics and storing of information. In fact, you can argue the two are one and the same.

Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    This is so interesting! I will have to have my hisband do this becuase hes been looking to know more about his family background!

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