What comes to mind when you hear the word “genealogy”? Does it sound boring and time-consuming? Or, does it sound fascinating in the same way that solving a mystery or reading a historical novel can be?
Pedigree charts might sound fancy, but they’re really just family trees. If you think pedigrees are just for royalty, dogs, and horses, think again!
Here are the top 10 reasons why genealogy might be for you:
- Genealogy is fascinating and fun! Do you like puzzles? Mysteries? History? Family? No wonder it’s the #2 hobby in America! (Can you guess what #1 is? Keep reading to see if you are right.)
- It can bring your family closer together. Share your research (and photos and stories) with your family. Interview your elders before it’s too late. Teach your children about history in a personal way.
- Genealogy can be part of organizing for your legacy. Especially if you are the keeper of the family’s history.
- It combines well with other hobbies and interests such as reading, writing, travel, photography, geography, history, sociology, scrapbooking, etc.
- It will probably inspire you to organize your photos and keepsakes, as well as your vital documents (birth, marriage, and death certificates) and other important items. (HINT: You should organize your family history even if you don’t care about genealogy per se.)
- It’s free! Or, at least, it can be. Genealogy is available to anyone at any budget, including lots of free online resources. Try familysearch.org, google.com, and cyndislist.com for starters. Also, don’t forget free brick-and-mortar libraries, including LDS Family History Centers, which are open to the public. Here’s a free Family Group Sheet to get you started. HINT: Start with yourself and work backwards in time, one branch at a time.
- You can put your own twist on it. Did you know there are people who specialize in specific regions, ethnic groups, or religions? Some researchers focus on one-name studies (e.g. all Thorntons, related or not), or they specialize in military history, adoption, or property records (think house detective)! Such specialties can apply to professionals and amateurs alike.
- You can call yourself whatever you like: Genealogist, Family Historian, Ancestry Detective, Bloodline Sleuth, Family Tree Climber, Seeker of Dead Relatives, etc.
- You can do it yourself. Or, DIY with a little help. Read Puzzling Out Your Family History to learn about the pleasures and pitfalls of doing genealogy research. Even if you are already the family historian you might need some help organizing your photos and records.
- You can hire someone to help you or do it for you. A pedigree chart, in a family history binder, makes a great gift for yourself, or for a loved one! To learn more, read The Gift of an Organized Family Tree and Family History Research Services.
So wait, you ask, what is America’s #1 hobby? Gardening. (Did you guess correctly?)
If you are a genealogist, what do you call yourself (see #8)?
Are you curious about your roots? Do you have a family mystery to solve?
Please share what you love about it (or want to know) in the comments below!
Copyright 2017-2018 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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