We are all descendants. When looking at your hands you see parents, grandparents, and generations long since past. Through genealogy, the study of ancestry and family trees, you can discover the history of your family and the tracing of its lineage. Genealogists incorporate interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, DNA tests, and other means to obtain information about kinship and pedigrees of family members.
The field of family history is broader than genealogy and covers not just lineage, but also community and biography. Taken a step further we can discover familial traits like our cultural background, compassion, resilience and tools we use to face everyday challenges. For U.S. residents we can draw upon our nation’s recent history and immigrant predecessors for historical perspectives and guidance to today’s issues.
Many people are interested in joining lineage societies, such as the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution (SAR or DAR), or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. These societies have different requirements for membership, both of which have strict policies on descendant documentation. If you’d like to submit an application to one of these societies, we recommend hiring a professional genealogist to help you collect the documentation required for submission.
Talk to Your Family
Ask relatives about their lives and your family history. As an example, where was your great-grandfather raised; or what cities, states or countries did he live in during his lifetime? The pursuit of family history can be shaped by several motives, like ensuring a place for your family in the larger historical picture. A sense of responsibility to preserve the past for future generations also plays a role in genealogy. Start safeguarding and sharing your legacy stories – Learn more at 100 Questions.
The knowledge of your cultural background can help you develop a strong sense of identity. From family stories you can construct an overview of your past, but also provide a view into how you add to the narrative. Ultimately you are an amalgam of your family’s culture, history and traditions. Passed on by generations, your family stories create a sense of belonging and identity. Additionally, during times of need, family members can draw solace from stories of past generations and their challenges.
History is a powerful teacher for each new generation. Your ancestors experienced challenges, they felt the joy and pain of love and loss, and they had character flaws too. Knowing your family history builds compassion and resilience. These stories remind us that disappointments occur and inequalities exist; however, we can use our past to help overcome challenges in the present.
Now it’s your turn to collect, create and share stories for the next generation. From your HereToday Legacy Vault, upload passages and words of wisdom you hope future generations will embrace. Learn more about legacy.
Genealogy is about what makes us who we are. It’s about family members with whom we form deep connections. It’s also about your family’s future – Your life’s experiences will directly impact generations to come.
Disclaimer. HereToday is not a legal service. This content should not be taken as legal advice. Before drafting any legal document, please consult an attorney.