The Family Tree
FIND YOUR FAMILY. DISCOVER YOURSELF.
Our story. Finding out about our past is something intriguing and
exciting! Who came before us? Where are my people from? Who is my great, great grandmother? Am I related to a famous person in history?
There has been a recent surge of interest in each individual’s heritage. Technology and quarantining have contributed to this surge. A Wall Street Journal Article, from July 2020, told how the number of amateur genealogists grew during the pandemic while people had extra hours at home. There have even been reality TV shows centered around finding facts and information leading to confirmation of someone's family history details. It is very impactful to see how much finding their family meant to those people.
A recent article on selecthealth.org by Chakell Wardleigh, called "5 Benefits of Knowing Your Family History," conveys some of the reasons why we should learn about who we are.
1. It gives you a sense of identity: “Nothing is more eye-opening than learning about who you are. Learning about your ancestors, celebrating family traditions, embracing your culture, and understanding where you came from can open your eyes to how beautiful and unique you are. It can also give your sense of self-worth and belonging a boost.”
2. It makes you more resilient when learning what generations before you suffered and how they fought through their challenges.
3. It helps you connect with others — people from your family tree in the past, present, and future.
4. It makes you a better human. Hearing the stories that helped shape others can inspire you and help you show more gratitude and empathy.
5. It helps you make good health choices. Knowing some of the health concerns that may be present in your family can educate you and help you prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
A Wall Street Journal article from November 2019, “The Secret Benefits of Retelling Family Stories,” talks about how family stories help people psychologically. They feel connected to the stories and feel that sense of belonging, while also internalizing the morals and lessons from stories. According to this article, 90% of teenagers and young adults can retell family stories when asked, even if they seemed uninterested when the story was told. Telling family stories face to face is especially impactful. Family stories that illustrate working through feelings of sorrow, fear, or stress can help children cope with their own emotions.
Start working on your own family tree through a variety of options. Begin with birth and marriage certificates, military and naturalization records; search census records, religious records and newspapers to find out more about those who came before you. Ancestry.com, familysearch.org, Access Geneology, RootsWeb,and Heritage Questare some of the many online tools to help you. Use these tools to track and record names and dates, upload photos, record family stories, attach historical records, and connect with relatives.
Share information and stories with other members of your family. Teach your children who and where they come from. Establish a focus to carry on family stories, along with special recipes or traditions. If you don’t know any of your family history details, begin with your own story and information, then work from there. Learning who we are can impact us significantly. Who we are is worth sharing and celebrating!