What motivates people to do family history?
Family history is more than names – we are drawn to the stories of their lives. We dig their names and dates out of vital records or the census and we dig deeper into newspapers and family letters to find the stories of their lives.
When I was teaching a genealogy class for the Darien Historical Society (CT) back in the early 1970s I asked my class – why were they interested in their family history?
One elderly man said – My sister was the kindest person he ever knew. She never married. I knew that if I didn’t write our family history that no one would remember her. That always stuck with me.
In today’s Denver Post Tina Griego wrote:
“Usually it starts with a family story. Grandma was tracking the family and they ended up with a box full of her papers. Or they heard someone in the family fought in the Revolutionary War. Or ‘My ancestors came from Spain and settled in Mexico and I want to find that branch of the family.’ “
What is it, I ask her, that draws people to their family histories? What is it they hope to learn? Why does it matter?
As I ask, I am aware that these questions are as much professional as they are personal.
Tina Griego, columnist for the Denver Post writes about the pull of genealogy in today’s paper.
Click here to read her entire column.
Family History is more than Names. 14 April 2009. Denver Post.