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November 21, 2018 Beyond The Dash

Why Genealogy is Rewarding

Why do so many people study family history?

Why Genealogy is Rewarding
Family history research enriches the lives of millions of people across the United States. If you're interested in beginning your own research, you can start today! (Shutterstock)

The study of family history is one of the most popular subjects of personal research in the United States. According to USA Today, genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States. Everybody has ancestors, and many people find themselves curious about their relatives from the past. 


What is genealogy?


Genealogy is the study of tracing family lines. Many genealogists are amateur researchers who enjoy studying families for the sake of advancing familial knowledge. Genealogists create family trees, investigate old photographs and documents, visit graveyards, government buildings and sometimes interview people in the course of their research, and more. 


In the course of your research, you may have to search through old photos and records, interview living relatives and travel to the library or courthouse to find family records. (Shutterstock)


Reasons to study your family's history




  • Anyone with an interest in family history can do it.




It's easy to embark on your own family history research. If you have an interest in finding out more of your lineage, you can ask older relatives basic family information and follow the trail of information from there. Even if you don't know much about your family, companies like Ancestry have genealogy DNA testing kits to get you started with your research.  




  • Amateur genealogists can go simple or complex with their research.




When you set out to answer a family history question, you'll soon discover a number of new ones. Our ancestors were people, and they lived lives as varied and unique as our own. As you shed light on the details of the past, you will illuminate more intriguing questions about marriages, births, deaths, achievements and migrations of your people. 


If you want to stop at finding out whether your great-aunt really did ever remarry, or at the construction of your own family tree, you may. However, it's the kind of project that could continue to develop over your lifetime.  




  • Digging up family history will take you many unexpected places.




Though you can do most of your research from home with just a computer and an internet connection, you may find that your family history research takes you to places you would not have expected. Certain occasions may require you to take a trip to the library, courthouse or even abroad. You can pursue this passion to the ends of the earth!




  • You will learn about yourself.




Following your own family tree through history can teach you a lot about your lineage. Even if the relatives you learn about are distantly related, it's interesting to discover where you came from. Follow your research where it takes you, and you never know how much enjoyment you could gain from making genealogy a lifelong hobby.


If the goal of your research is to create a family tree for display, you can use a template like this to help you organize the information to show. (Shutterstock)


Want to get started on your own family history research? Here's a guide that can help you create a family tree for a memorial service, step by step. 


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