This Holiday season, as you spend more time inside and more time with your family, we hope you take time to enjoy and catch up on your family history.
Why do we all feel drawn to our ancestors? We love learning about them because the stories of our ancestors are the stories of us. We are descended from them. We share their genetics, and, in some cases, their surnames. Our ancestors, even the ones we have never met, have shaped our lives. Our values, beliefs, traditions, and habits have been passed down from them to us. Who we are is in many ways influenced by our ancestors.
It is important to know our ancestors--not just to list their names on a pedigree chart, but to learn stories about them and to get to know them. Knowing our ancestors helps us to better understand ourselves. Our ancestors did remarkable things. Maybe your ancestor was an emigrant who had the courage to leave his home country to make a better life. Maybe your ancestor was a pioneer woman who raised many children, and lost many to childhood disease. Maybe they managed to keep their family together against the odds of the Great Depression. Maybe your family endured war. Learning about our ancestors' accomplishments makes us grateful for their sacrifices and can help us have the fortitude that we need to make it through difficult times.
Remember the importance of learning about all your ancestors. Some people think that the most exciting part of genealogy is tracing theirs back to as many famous, prominent, and powerful people as they can. They don't know what they're missing! Our so-called "ordinary" ancestors have done things that are just as important, and we can learn from them just as much as our well-known ancestors.
Take some time in your spare moments to look at your family tree, to learn more about your ancestors, and to reflect on them. Give it as a gift to yourself. You'll be glad that you did!