View Full Version : The Value of Genealogical Research

Thursday, July 31st, 2008, 02:20 AM
The last 6 months or so I have off and on been occupied with genealogical research and building a family tree. It has progressed quite well so far and I now know alot more about my ancestry than I did prior to getting started. Not just about my family and its history, but also about the history of my country, and of the regions, areas and villages from where my ancestors hail. I would encourage everyone to go out on their own genealogical quest, as you learn along the way not just about your family, but about the society in which they lived and the lives they themselves lived. You become familiar with the social hierarchy of the old days, how the villages and community was structured, long gone occupations and job titles, old, now forgotten and extinct words and terms which were important to our ancestors (okay maybe linguistics isn't for everyone but you get the idea, there's alot to be learned :p), the origin of names, of people and places. It is a bottomless well of almost infinite knowledge.

It struck me how poor the average person's knowledge of his ancestry and the history of his own country must be unless he actively pursues knowledge into the matter, and not many do these days. This I think contributes greatly to the widespread rootlessness and it makes our own identity weak and shallow, a dangerous thing in a time when the ruling class wants to deny us our heritage and our own identity by making sure that we are oblivious and ignorant about it.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a family tree, complemented with your own in-depth, acquired, additional knowledge of ancestors and the olden days, ready and prepared to be passed on to future children and grandchildren, which will firmly ground them in the heritage and soil of their ancestors. It is also important to take the opportunity to speak to older relatives, while they're still around, as they are the link to the past, they often represent a direct link back into the agricultural society and they possess a wealth of first hand knowledge and personal experience of what will be for future generations available in print or fiction only.

Thursday, July 31st, 2008, 02:34 PM
Yes indeed! It was interest in genealogy and family history that first started me on the road to 'Germanic preservation'.

My family has been here so long that we've forgotten where we came from 300-350 years ago and had only vague notions of "English, Scots & Dutch" but little concrete. That is, until I caught the genealogy bug. ;) I am now the chronicler of the family and I get questions all the time from cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

The thing I like most about genealogy, apart from simply finding one's roots, is the personal touch it can put on history--and Patrioten mentions this as well. When thinking about an ancestor that lived in a particular time, it adds a new dimension to reading about this period of history--what the conditions were like, socially, economically, environmentally and what may have driven them (in my case) to sail some 3500 miles away and start anew in a virgin land. I try to imagine their motivations and what was going through their minds when they made considerable decisions as such.

Anyway, good stuff and I too would encourage folks to dig around through the paper trail and add some personality to their own history. :)

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008, 06:05 PM
Sadly, the overwhelming majority of my students have no idea of who they are or where they come from. When I ask, they have vague notions of being "German, English, and (something else)."

Oddly enough, I had a student last year who did do her geneaology, and found out that her surname, which always struck her as odd, had an historical source: she's descended from the Amerind chief Stand Watie. She looks about as Amerind as an Irish lassie! :)

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008, 08:08 PM
Tracing back ancestral bloodline is not a "fashion" today so why should people do it?:rolleyes:
It is a common thing that I meet nowadays that people are simply not interested about their ancestry. I've got several times from people answers like:" I'm not interested about members of my family who are long dead" and "Why should I care about if they are dead?"...:rolleyes:

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008, 08:39 PM
It's actually quite a popular pastime here in American these days. It has increased in popularity primarily due to the rise of email & the web....it's just oh-so-much easier to swap information these days than years ago when genealogy required lots of driving around and rooting through dusty old church records and correspondences through "snail mail".

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008, 12:41 AM
Indeed Patrioten! Prior to doing in-depth genealogical research, I knew next to nothing about pre-Revolution France. However, in researching my Norman and Frankish ancestors I was forced to learn a lot about the waves of conquerers that battled over France.