Monday, April 17, 2006

Why do I pursue my family history?

My first major reason for pursuing genealogy research is because it is an intellectual challenge and it is FUN! Educated as an engineer and scientist, doing "research" has always been part of my work life. I also made it part of my "home" life - an interest to pursue when I had free time. I love being a detective - whether it's finding obscure facts about a distant ancestor or reading a good mystery book.

My second major reason is to maintain contact with my brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. They all had stories to tell about their family life, and I really enjoyed getting to know them, since I was in San Diego and most of them were on the east coast. In return for their stories, I have produced a 16 page family newsletter since 1988, which I send out at Christmas time. It is full of current family news, photos and ancestor stories.

A third major reason is to "honor my ancestors." Nearly every one of them lived a fairly conventional life - they grew up in a family, were educated, worked hard over many years, had a family, lived and served in a community, and died without attracting much attention or notoriety. Some of them lived unconventional lives, did extraordinary things or "bad" things. That's part of the family tapestry - the good, the bad, the ugly. I try to honor them all by collecting information about them and telling their stories in books or articles.

So who cares? My kids, my brothers and my cousins seem to care. That's good enough for me. I'm just trying to have FUN!

What about you - why do you pursue your family history?

See my genealogy research here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It gives me something to talk to my relatives about, at family get-togethers, and gossiping about the messes of people long gone doesn't seem as hurtful. Just found your blog and am enjoying learning from you. Thanks!