5 Reasons to Trace Your Genealogy

Reason 1-You might have someone (in)famous in your tree.
I'll tell you a little secret. Most of us do. A while back, I had just finished a book on the Confederate spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow and was telling my mother-in-law about it. She commented that the spy's maiden name was the same as her own. I hadn't worked on her side of the family tree yet so I started researching. Sure enough, they shared a common ancestor.

A month later, I came across a message online that mentioned that the Bolings were descended from Pocahontas. Since my great-grandmother was a Boling, I decided to do some digging into the Boling genealogy. Sure enough, our family is descended from Pocahontas via her granddaughter who married a Bolling.

Reason 2-You might bump into some relatives.
Early in my research, I sent a look-up request to a volunteer in West Virginia. Imagine my surprise when he emailed back that we were distant cousins. He not only got the information I needed, but also passed along research he had already done on the family.

While researching my Sweat line in south Georgia, I bumped into another distant cousin. She was able to fill in some blanks on our ancestors and I was able to fill in some blanks on the genealogy of my line.

Reason 3-You might learn about genetic diseases.
It sounds like an odd reason for genealogy, but many diseases are genetic. If your ancestors had something, especially if several had it, you could be at risk of the same disease. By knowing your genealogy, and the reasons behind your ancestors' deaths, you are better able to protect yourself and your children.

Reason 4-It gives you something to talk about with your older relatives
Due to the generation gap, many of us have difficulty talking to older relatives. Researching the family tree will give you something to talk about, and maybe even net you some little known facts about the family.

Reason 5-It makes a great gift.
It's Grandmother's birthday again and what do you get for an 80 year old that has everything? A copy of the family tree, or a family tree scrapbook, is an excellent gift. This is a gift that will be cherished.


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