But what motivates people to investigate their own family history? Genealogy can be a hobby, a curiosity or something much more – and there are lots of reasons why people decide to investigate their own histories and ancestors.
Here we have listed some of them. If genealogy and family tree research is your passion, see if you agree with the reasons we have listed here.
To validate your family tree. It might be the case that you have a rough idea of your genealogy, as do other members of your family but you have decided to find out for sure where great-grandmother X came from, or what great-grandfather Y did for a living.
To gain an understanding of an historical event. Last year’s 100th year anniversary of the start of the First World War inspired many people to research their own family history to try to find links to that war and its epic battles. This applies to the Second World War as well.
Other people might be enticed by the thought that they are related to someone who is famous. Research might reveal an illustrious politician, someone who invented life-changing medicine or perhaps even aristocratic connections.
On a practical level, some people look into genealogy because they want to check out their health by tracing some kind of medical condition. There might be a history of certain diseases or conditions and forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.
Or you might trace your history to prove something, such as ownership of land through showing proof of descent, or right to inherit.
To understand a namesake. Perhaps 150 years ago there was a person who shared your name and curiosity has driven you to find out more about this person – where they lived, what they did, when they died and more.
To understand family traditions. Perhaps your family has some specific family traditions, or a recipe book that has been handed down generation to generation and that makes you want to find out more about where those traditions and recipes originated from.
To find out about letters, diaries, family bibles and more. You might be lucky enough to own old family letters, diaries and family bibles with family trees in them, which might inspire you to find out more about the people who wrote those letters, kept those diaries and added in the family trees.
To keep alive the memory of something. After a grandparent dies, people often feel inspired to research and document that person’s history to keep their legacy going on. You might also want to pass on the history of your family to the younger generation.
Have we included one of the reasons why you decided to investigate your family history or is there something else that inspired you? Why not let us know? You can send us your motivation via Twitter (@findersprobate #HeirHunters) or on our Facebook page.