Friday, November 14, 2008

Why Do You Do Genealogy?

When you are really frustrated at not finding the information you want to know, do you wonder why you even do genealogy? I do, but only for a short time. Genealogy has been such a big part of my life for so long that it is hard to imagine life without it.

But why do I do genealogy? It isn’t in hopes of finding a connection to a famous person - I gave up that hope six months after I started researching. From the very beginning of time, or so it seems, my ancestors were hard working farmers whose lives centered around providing the basics for their families. None achieved greatness in terms of money, land or personal fame, but most were blessed with courage and perseverance. I’ll take those traits over money any day.

That still doesn’t tell you why I do genealogy. I can’t answer in one word, but I can give you three reasons why genealogy is so important to me.

  • The need to know my place in the world - the place where I belong, where I can call home and where my history is known. I think we all have that need and it is what drives us to find the answers in genealogy.

  • The need to organize - the need to fit each ancestor and his family into their own proper place and time. There is a sense of accomplishment when gaps are replaced with facts. This is why I still use the old fashioned family group sheets. I can see at a glance the information I have and the information I still need. When the group sheet is complete, it is time to go on to the next one.

  • Genealogy is just plain fun! There is a thrill each time a piece of information is found and connects to another bit I already have. I have met some wonderful people in this journey to find my ancestors and I would not trade the experiences I’ve had for any amount of money.

  • Why do you do genealogy? I bet you can’t answer in one word either.


    Randy Seaver said...

    Great question. My answer now is threefold like yours:

    1) To honor my ancestors - the effort they put in to live lives that helped build this country, our fmaily, and me and my descendnats.

    2) To instill a sense of history and tradition in my descendants and family members by bringing the stories of our ancestors to light.

    3) It is a really challenging and fun vocation that I can pursue in retirement - it's a treasure hunt, detective story and intellectual challenge to find elusive ancestors.

    Cheers -- Randy

    Kathryn Doyle said...


    Great post! You and Randy have covered all of my main reasons, except for the fact that I think it is in my genes. I know I inherited the bug from my father, and he from his mother. Sometimes it is more compulsion than hobby but it is something I love and that is a part of me. It is just something I was born to do.