Why Genealogy Is Important
Knowledge of the specific factors that motivate genealogists can be a source of inspiration and support when people hit the inevitable roadblocks and brick walls in their research. Knowledge of what motivates the genealogy community is also helpful in understanding the future direction of ancestral research.
The first part of the article discusses the many practical reasons why people get involved with genealogy. Often, these practical aspects satisfy basic human curiosity. The second part of the article focuses on the philosophical aspects of human curiosity and how it motivates people to research their family tree.
Genealogy can provide a doorway to the past, although it is often necessary to break through brick walls to get to the truth.
The Practical Side of Genealogy
Below are some of the main practical reasons why people search for their ancestors:
- Validate Family Stories – To determine if family stories about their ancestors are true.
- Famous People – To find out if they are related to someone famous.
- Historical Event – To gain a better understanding of an ancestor’s involvement in a famous historical event.
- Trace Medical Conditions –To assess the risk of getting certain medical conditions that run in families.
- Trace a Family Inheritance –To determine genealogical proof of a family connection for potential heirs.
- Find Birth Parents – To determine the birth parents of an adopted child. Alternatively, to find children given up for adoption.
- Proof of Paternity – To determine the biological father of a child.
- Religious Tenet –To satisfy the tenets of the religion. The most notable example is the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
- Community History – To document a community history by understanding the families that founded and influenced the community.
- Historic Studies – To provide insight into history through the scholarly study of a famous family, such as a royal family.