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Researching your family tree has become a popular past time for many people. The thought of getting to know your ancestors and finding out how they lived, and what their life was like has enthralled many; and the internet has made it much easier to find vital information. It is akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle about ancestors, one generation at a time. Most people have dreams of tracing their family tree back to royalty, knights, or founding fathers.
There are other, important benefits to researching your family tree, however.
New Friendships – there are countless others online and off researching their own family histories. What better way to make a new friend than find something in common? You can share tips, ideas, and strategies to help each other and build lifelong friendships along the way.
Personal Growth – researching and assembling information about your ancestors can be a wonderful project on your own personal growth and education. You will discover skills you never even knew you had. You will have a sense of accomplishment that is unmatched with anything you have ever known.
A treasured heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation – this will be a work in progress, as each new generation will add their information and share their stories and memories, along with photos, journals and other heirlooms.
Getting closer to your living relatives – interviewing your oldest living relatives can bring you closer together, especially if you haven’t gotten to know them well in the past. Most likely, they will be happy to share their stories and memories with you. It will make them feel less lonely, and more like a useful part of the family. Visit them as often as you can; if they live too far away, call or write often.
Medical history – as you conduct your research, you will most likely come across medical information, such as heart conditions, cancer, or other hereditary diseases that your ancestors suffered from. This will give you much needed information that you can pass on to your own family doctor.
Geographical history – not only will you learn about people, you will learn about places and interesting times in history. What city was your great-grandmother born in? What was it like? What was the population? Where did she go to school? Has the city changed its name since then? There is an abundance of information to be found, not only on whom, but where.
Researching your family tree takes time, patience, and effort; but the payoff is tremendous. The benefits far outweigh any challenges. It is something that should be considered a life-long process that is constantly in need of updating as family members get married, have children, grandchildren, etc. It is something to be treasured from generation to generation. Keep a journal of your progress, as well as various notes and things you have learned along the way. Someday, you may be the one being researched, and the more that you can aid in the process, the better.