Digging into family roots connects the past to the present and future

Taking Time During The Holiday Season To Dig Deep Into Your Family Roots Helps Increase Feelings of Connection

It’s the holiday season: that special time of year for families and friends. Pegasus homecare specialists in Agoura and elsewhere look forward to helping you create new memories. Gatherings of the people you care about also present an opportunity to dig into your family roots.

A big part of who you are today is the result of what those who came before you were. They made decisions and choices that are your personal heritage. Learning about their adversities and successes can give you strength and guidance in reaching your own solutions.

Personal Stories Are The Real Roots

Placing everyone on a family tree is important, but knowing their stories illuminates your life. Some of the benefits of knowing more about the lives of your ancestors include:

  • A sense of identity – knowing more about your cultural background increases your sense of who you are
  • Feeling connected – knowing more about the members of your family tree increases your understanding that you’re part of more than current events
  • Greater compassion – understanding the shortcomings or mistakes of your ancestors increases your ability to cope with the imperfections of contemporary family members
  • Improved resilience – learning about the hardships faced by early members of your family increases your capability to conquer today’s adversities

December 23 is National Roots Day. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individuals in your past who lived, loved, succeeded, and failed. The more of their stories you know, the more you know about yourself.

Genealogy Is Connecting The Past, Present, and Future

Consider the fact also that you’re the ancestor of those who are yet unborn. You, and your story, are important to your descendants. Record your story for them, and to enrich the history of humankind.

Connection is a significant benefit of digging into your family roots. Feeling connected is a basic human need. Family history connects you to the past and to the future.

As well as leaving a legacy for your descendants, recording your life story can heal you. Writing your history helps you gain perspective. You can make peace with yourself and your past, which improves your quality of life.

Genealogy also satisfies your curiosity about:

  • Where you came from
  • Why you are here
  • What is going to happen to you

These are fundamental questions for many individuals that are trying to understand their place in the world.

You might want to do genealogical research for practical reasons such as:

  • Adding missing branches to the family tree
  • Confirmation of lineage
  • Finding birth parents
  • Finding children adopted out
  • Genetic medical conditions
  • Inheritance of land, property, or heirlooms
  • Preserving cultural knowledge or heritage
  • Understanding written documents, such as diaries, letters, names in Bibles

It’s always possible that you’ll discover you’re related to a celebrity or historically significant person.

Build On What You Already Know

Once you begin a family tree, you may be surprised at how much you already know. Many family stories are often repeated at holidays or celebrations. Some of these may be embellished or the facts have been lost over time and telling.

Start with one or two relatives or stories to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Organize your research as you go, including notes on the source of information. It’s not unusual to end up with conflicting stories, and you may need to confirm the accuracy of each.

After you’ve determined what you already know, decide what else you want to discover. Then choose how you want to start your investigation. Add each bit of information to your family tree as you accumulate it.

Talking with other family members is usually the best way to start digging for family roots. Ask as many specific questions as you can, including:  

  • Career or occupation
  • Schools attended
  • Street addresses
  • Vital statistics (births, deaths, marriages, etc.)
  • Their participation in or reaction to historical events

There’s a basic questionnaire here that you can use to record answers from each individual.

Ask about and locate any documents. That can include scrapbooks, legal papers, school report cards, or medical records. Many of your relatives will have memorabilia that can give you insights into family stories.

Your efforts may lead you to newspapers or other archives. Census and military records can also trigger memories in older individuals. Younger family members often post a wealth of information on social media.

Resources Are Abundant

Once you’ve exhausted the information your family members have, turn to other resources. In addition to the census and military sources, you can find data at: 

  • Ellis Island immigrant records
  • Nationwide gravesite locator
  • Passenger ship manifests
  • State and national archives

Your family’s stories will bring statistics to life.

There are a variety of genealogy sites where you can continue your research. Some have fees, so do your due diligence before using one. You may also simply start with typing a name in a search engine such as Google.

Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We have provided high-quality homecare in Agoura and our other locations since 1994. We are here for families and their loved ones during all seasons for all levels of care.