Does My Family Past Matter?
Do you know your grandparents, great-grandparents and even further back?
For some, the desire to know their ancestry is very strong. In fact, countless people are being drawn to this hobby of family history and genealogy in ever increasing numbers, with more internet sites and other resources more and more available.
So, why are many of us wanting to find out about our ancestors? What is this drive within us to search them out?
I certainly mean no disrespect, but, after all, they are dead. And yet, there seems to be this innate desire to know their stories, their life and what they can teach us. It’s as though, if they are remembered and not completely forgotten…neither will we be. Is that what drives you? Have you ever considered looking into your family tree? Do you even want to know your family? Come on with me and I’ll tell you why you do, IF your answer was no. If your answer was yes, you are going to love this post!
May I suggest that we are linked to our family members, those living, and those who are deceased, as a chain. As we search through our family generations, we can see how they bring their talents, skills, abilities and knowledge for us to learn from; making our-self, the chain-link, stronger and more valuable.
Let me give you an example of one experience and the difference it can make of doing family history, or genealogy as it’s often referred to. I was talking to my neighbor and she had just done some family research. She was amazed at the impact it had on changing her attitude and even the 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.
This post is a series, and I am thrilled to begin here on how to start at the beginning to find your family members. We will begin basic and move along as the posts continue. You will find the resources are truly amazing, all free, as well as printables I will provide to help you for your better success and experience.
So where do we begin?
My long-time fabulous friend, Tara is going to teach us how to research our family, no matter where in the world we live!
She was so kind to break it into very simple steps for us, now, let’s 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 been added previously, 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!
I know that doing family history research takes time, which is difficult to come by in our very busy life today.
May I share with you my thoughts and why it’s worth our effort: I believe the family is the most fundamental part of our society, and that the family is ordained by God.
As we learn from those who have gone before us, and those that are here now, we truly will understand more about ourselves. This is priceless information, because it gives us guidance as we set goals, overcome our own weaknesses and especially as we appreciate our own strengths and find our own talents.
Then comes the tremendous advantage: we can be more loving, more forgiving and know how to serve better those in our family. This understanding allows us greater charitable in our own attitude as we learn about those in our ancestry, and those with us now – a tremendous reward for filling out our family tree.
You will find that those in your ancestry, those with you now, and your posterity, are linked together as the most magnificent handiwork you could ever imagine – because God’s greatest creation is YOU.
(#1 – series to be continued)
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2017
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.