Why you want to know your family? Does it really matter? Does the past, and by that I mean those who are deceased and gone on, do they really have any affect on your life now?
I mean there’s so much to do with taking kids to soccer, working, going to school, making ends meet, trying to build a career—all the things that are in the present and future, why does looking at family history or genealogy justify the time, energy and effort?
Does knowing your family and their lives affect you and even your future posterity?
I would like to yell out a hearty YES!
I personally have been fortunate to have been raised to know quite a bit of my family. Though growing up with divorced parents, I knew my living grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins; it made a huge difference and still does. My kids really enjoy knowing the family and lean on that bond with relatives that we have. However, there many I know who are not so fortunate to know those that they are closely related to, much less a generation or two past.
So why look at family history or genealogy as it’s often referred to? I was talking to my neighbor and she told me how doing some research in this area has changed her attitude and outlook on herself and her family.
My very sweet friend, I’ll call ‘L’ allowed me to share her story with us:
Why I do family history.
I came from a battered and broken family. My father raised me in a remote area. My life was shattered when he died when I was only eleven years old. I never really felt like I fit in after that. I struggled socially and emotionally. I lived with a sister and friends but something was missing in my life.
One day when I was about fifteen I came across some records my father had kept. It listed my aunts and uncles and grandparents. They were all dead, my father had been the youngest, but that tiny bit of information started me looking for my family.
It took years but with each bit of information I became more comfortable with myself and my family. When life was rough I could immerse myself in my family. I came to ‘know’ my grandmother and grandfather. I felt their suffering as I learned about the places they lived, the work they did and the deaths that struck the family. The big successes and tragedies were occasionally recorded in newspapers; most of the story is found in the small amount of information recorded on such things as marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, censuses and land deeds. Little things like who lived in the house, was the home rented or owned, what work they did, and where they lived. I put all the little pieces together and a story began to emerge.
Through the years I have grown to love a family I never met and I feel sure that they love me too. I now know who I am and feel confident about my place in the world.
L concludes with this profound statement and warning to us all about what we leave and why we need to search out our living and deceased relatives: When a person dies a library of knowledge vanishes.
So, say you want to connect with your past; those who are living and deceased- what do you do? Where do you begin?
No problem! Because another long-time fabulous friend of mine, Tara comes to our rescue!
She currently volunteers at a local facility near me and gave me a terrific tour of how to do family history online.
But you don’t live by me you say?
You can go to Family Search.org by clicking HERE from anywhere in the world and do everything I was shown by Tara, and even more! Did you hear me….ok, read that? ON-LINE! In the comfort of you own home, in your PJ’s if you want :)
Now, here’s how to simple and quick it is to get started:
Step 1 –
Step 2 –
Step 3 –
Type in your name and information and keep adding to the name of the nearest deceased relative. FamilySearch will do an automatic search for the deceased person to see if that person has already been added to FamilySearch. If they have, you just need to click “add”. If not, you will need to create a “new” person.
Step 4 – Once that person’s name comes up, click on that person to see information to add to it, or see what’s there!
If nothing appears then you get to start your very own Family Tree!
Why would you want to spend some of your precious time that you might be using to watch tv or scroll FB to research your family?
Personally, because I believe family’s are the most fundamental part of our society. I feel sincerely that the family is ordained by God. That our past, and our future, are woven together as a beautiful tapestry to make the most stunning creation we could ever have dreamed of.
As we learn from those who have gone before us, and those that are here now, we truly do understand more about ourselves. This is invaluable information, because it gives us guidance as we set goals, overcome our weaknesses and especially as we appreciate our strengths.
Possibly even more importantly, it is a tremendous advantage so we can be more loving, more forgiving and know how to serve better those in our family. All this as we fill out our Family Tree!
Next time I cannot wait to share my exciting gift that I is created just for you as a support and to make it fun as you trace your Family Tree! It really is very special, and it’s in the next post in this series. To be continued – watch for it:)
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.