Why researching your Family History is good for the soul.

This morning we received a lovely testimonial from one of our clients. It read:

Dear Karrie,

For many years I have wanted to research my husband’s family and also my own. Having heard many family stories it was amazing to read the true stories and discover the odd skeleton in the cupboard! We have had so much enjoyment in reading our family history, not just once but over and over again, noticing every detail. There is so much to take in. My husband’s 94-year-old mother, who has dementia, has really benefited from the time we have spent with her. We have read to her about her own and her husband’s family – much of it she appeared to remember and was even able to confirm certain names and stories. We were so impressed with the service we received from Family Detective that we asked for further research, especially on our grandfathers who fought in the First World War. Wonderful – thank you Family Detective! I am sure we will be asking you to do further research for us in the future. For now we are trying to absorb the latest instalments.

Kindest regards

Jan and Geoff Waddington

Jan’s comments are often echoed in the feedback that we get from our clients who say that reading through their presentation is good for the soul. Her words reminded me of some of the wonderful benefits of finding out about your family’s history. Here are just a few:

Building connections

So often we hear how discovering your family’s history alongside older relatives can strengthen relationships between the generations. These days, some older people can feel cut-off from their children and grandchildren’s lives because the younger generations are so centred on modern technology. But grandparents are the experts on the family’s history! Their memories are given value and recognition when you journey into the past together, and photos of the ‘olden days’ and the stories that they inspire, can fascinate even quite young children.

A feeling of belonging

A few of our customers are very keen to meet up with living relatives. Maybe they have just lost touch with cousins, or perhaps they even have brothers and sisters who they’ve never met because of an adoption or a rift in the family. But even if your story doesn’t involve a dramatic reunion, just seeing the list of names of people who share your genes, can be a moving experience. For some it inspires a journey to see the places where their ancestors lived and worked. For one client it helped him choose the name for his new baby, and for yet another it actually caused him to change his surname by deedpoll! We all want to belong, and when you discover your ancestors, you discover your tribe.

A chance to reminisce

I had never considered this benefit for sufferers of dementia, until Jan mentioned it in her email, and I wonder whether sparking memories in this way has any health benefits to people who struggle with memory loss. Perhaps there’s some research to be done there. However, many of our clients tell us how wonderful it is to open the doors to their past and take the chance to retell stories, some of them sad, some of them funny. To remember those who have gone before us is a basic instinct, now lost to our culture, in the mainpart. Photos on phones are never printed out; stories on social media are fleeting and our evenings are filled with electronic games and entertainment rather than tales of the past. Researching your ancestry and crafting it into a presentation ensures that your family’s stories are preserved for future generations.

Discussion: What other benefits have you discovered whilst researching your family history? Please add your comments. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.