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Friday Family History: Why You Should Research Family History Even When It Is "Done"


Recently, I've heard from several different people that their family history is "done," so they don't have any research to do.  As kindly as possible, I'd like to take issue with that mindset.  


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Perhaps some people view genealogy as a big logic puzzle, and if someone has already filled it in, there is no need to try.  Every day, newspapers across the world are filled with the same crossword puzzle, and everyday, people attempt to come up with the answers on their own.   Genealogical research brings similar feelings of satisfaction.  

Family history is much more than just a big puzzle, though; family history forms connections through the years.  The best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them.  Our children won't know our grandparents in the same way we do, unless they spend time hearing about them.  We will miss out on knowing our ancestors unless we make an effort to know them.  

Even though my mom has done family history research for years, and I have copies of her information, I still have done my own research.  As I document names and dates, I learn more about my heritage and I feel closer to my ancestors.  

My mom might know her multiplication facts, and she might even share a multiplication chart with me, but unless I pour over it and commit the facts to memory, I won't really reap the benefits.  The same holds true with family history.  

I have never been great at remembering names.  We have lived several different places during our marriage, and I know I have forgotten some names over the course of those 26 years.  The names I remember best are those of people with whom we spent the most time.   

If I put family history aside for a while, I tend to forget who belongs to whom, and how I am related to any particular person.  Of course, I remember my grandparents, and usually great-grandparents, but beyond that, things can get fuzzy.  However, when I spend time looking for historical documentation, I tend to remember names and relationships better.  I notice children who died young, or Civil War soldiers who died in battle, or families that had about a dozen boys and only two girls.  I notice names showing up through generations, or names that make me smile--like Thankful, or Fiasco, or Orange Root.  

"When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves."--Elder Russell M. Nelson

If you haven't done family history, you don't know what  you're missing.  If you think the work is "done," you don't know what you're missing.  Whatever amount of time you can spend,  you'll be blessed with increased love and appreciation for your family.  

Have you caught the "bug?"

Thanks for family history.


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Comments

  1. I couldn't help but giggle when you mentioned some ppl saying they were "done" with their family history. In my opinion, it's never done. There's always more to discover when it comes to your ancestors. Even if you plugged in all the holes (as you would say), what about the stories behind those plugs? There's always something to discover when it comes to geneaology.

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  2. My biggest concern in catching the bug is that I will spend way to much time on it and I spend way to much time at this computer as it -- but I'm getting tempted!

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  3. I agree with you Kristi. Genealogy is never 'done'.

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  4. I have researched one of my lines very much & yet yesterday I found two different women listed in the 1900 census with two missing children. My researching skills have improved & I know that it's time to get out the checkbook & write a letter to the local Catholic church for further information. I am currently taking "Writing a Narrative BiographY" (History 433) through BYU & I am learning so much & asking so many more questions than I used to. The questions have led me to researcher deeper & learn more than ever before. I believe that someday I will meet the people that I have researched & I will be able to know them better!!

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