Why Genealogy is Important

The following is from Amy Johnson Crow. She’s the genealogist who has inspired me to begin researching our family. Check her out at


“I probably don’t have to convince you of the importance of genealogy and family history. But I’d like to share my reasons for why I think it is.

Genealogy is an incredible way to make a connection with the past. When you learn that your great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War and that he had a brother-in-law who fought on the other side, suddenly the Civil War isn’t just something in a history book. (It’s also a wonderful way to get the young ones in the family at least vaguely interested in history.)

Genealogy is also a connection to the present. Learning about the trials and tribulations of our ancestors makes us realize that people aren’t all that different today. (That’s supposed to be a comforting thought!) What’s more, when we make connections with previously unknown cousins, we realize just how connected we all are.

But genealogy is also incredibly personal. Ask five people why they trace their heritage and you’ll probably get five different answers. For some, it’s proving (or disproving) a family legend. For others, it’s curiosity to see how the family fits in with world events.

I had two points in my life that put me on the path of seeking my heritage. First was the original airing of “Roots.” It seemed that everyone in the nation at the time was swept up with the curiosity of finding out more about their family’s past. I was fortunate that my paternal grandmother was the official “Keeper of the Family Stuff.” Grandma had the family Bible, some family photos… but most importantly, the family stories. She even wrote a short memoir of her early life, including the time her family lost their home in the Great Flood of 1913.

The second point was when my son was about a year old. I was cleaning up some old papers and found the funeral card from my maternal grandfather’s funeral. Unlike on Dad’s side of the family, Mom didn’t know a whole lot about her family’s history. Later that evening, I went to the library and met two wonderful women who became dear friends. They took me under their wing and got me started researching.

Along the way, I have found hardworking people and ne’er-do-wells, strong women and scoundrels. In discovering them, I’ve discovered a bit more about myself — and in sharing their stories, I’ve connected with others.

Connection — that’s the importance of genealogy.

What got you started in this great journey of genealogy? Hit reply and let me know. I love hearing what got people started.  “

Until next time,

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