Why do a family tree?
It is one of those questions that doesn’t have a definitive answer but nonetheless I will do my best to provide a suitable answer!
Why do a family tree? Why should you open a can of worms? Why should you let the skeletons out of the cupboard? Why should you make that leap into the unknown? Why not just leave the past in the past?
For someone like me who lives and breathes genealogy – to the point where I actually get withdrawal symptoms without it – I find it hard to understand why some people wouldn’t be even be interested in their background. Venturing into the unknown can be a daunting prospect yet we carry on regardless despite not knowing what the future holds so why should we be worried about the events of the past?
A family tree is more than just about names and dates. It’s about the stories behind those names that give a personal connection to the past. Whether it is soldiers fighting at the Somme, merchant seamen, factory workers, newspaper editors or farmers; these are the stories that breathe life into those who came before us. Some of the benefits of a family tree include a greater sense of identity and a better understanding of your heritage. You can also meet great people along the way. Your emotions go on a rollercoaster ride from the thrill of the hunt, the elation at solving a brick wall (frustration when you can’t!) and the sadness when reading a heartbreaking tale. On a word of caution, be sure researching your family tree is what you want because the skeletons cannot be put back in the cupboard once they are let out! You might find things you may not want to hear and it certainly gives you a different perspective on life today.
On a personal level I’m glad I did it when the older members of my family were still around and are sadly no longer with us. You don’t have to start with anything complicated, just simple questions like where were you born or what were your parents called? Aside from the growing list of documents and crates of objects that have results from my digging, I now know who I am.
Do you know who you are?