Many of us have a reason as to why something is important to us. And when it comes to family, the majority of us would say that’s pretty high up on the list!
What is genealogy and family history you ask?
To put it simply, genealogy is the study of families and tracing their lineages and history.
Family history not only gives you the names and dates of your ancestors and descendants but it seeks to put their lives in context, the family stories, the when, where and how they lived, worked and travelled within a social, economic and environmental context.
Today, access to many types of documents, including marriage, birth and death certificates can make it possible to research your family history. Sounds straightforward enough, right?!
…Or not! You might be asking yourselves, where do I start? What will I gain from this?
Let’s go into a bit more detail into one of our talks, first…
Our speaker Mags Gaulden, a professional genetic genealogist, tells the story of Betty Jean.
Betty Jean aged 91, had thought all hope was lost for finding her biological parents. But after a chance encounter with her adopted cousin, she found faith again. The discovery of her birth father happened within a few months. Her birth mother proved more elusive, fortunately with further research and new found hope, her birth mother’s name is tantalisingly close…
There may be a big reveal at THE Show!
So what does this prove?
We also know that researching your family history can provide connections, stories, and spark an interest in genealogy (we would hope!).
Here is what a couple of THE Show speakers have said when asked why genealogy and family history is important to them:
“Family history is important to me because my parents were immigrants and it was a way for me to connect with the family left behind. I also enjoy connecting an ancestor to a historical event as it makes it personal and real” Ruth Blair will be giving her presentation on ‘Canadian Family History Research: From Coast to Coast to Coast’. You can follow Ruth on Twitter at @passionategenea.
“I have always been interested in history, but history is not just about kings and queens or the big names who feature in history text books”, says another TGS speaker, Sylvia Valentine.
“It’s also about the ordinary people who lived, struggled and died, whose lives were affected by local circumstances. I want more than the bare bones of the “hatch match and despatch”. I want to know how people lived and why they made the choices they did, for example to emigrate across the world, or maybe why they came to the UK. I come from very “ordinary” working class families, but I have discovered amazing stories about my ancestors, and tried to prove (or disprove!) the stories I grew up with as a child. Even so-called ordinary people had – and have, amazing stories to tell, and I want to inspire others to find their own stories.” Sylvia’s talk will be on ‘Finding your way around Workhouse Records‘. You can keep up to date with Sylvia on Twitter at @Historylady2013
In a nutshell, genealogy and family history provides a way for us to connect with the past and our ancestors. It can give us a sense of where we came from and can also be of use for the future (discovering your ancestors medical history, for example)! It plays an important role in how we view ourselves, our history and customs, and the connections we have around the world.
Discovering your heritage and familial roots can give you a great sense of belonging and pride.
The best benefit of all, in our opinion, is that there is a worldwide community of professional genealogists (at THE Show) all keen to help you trace your ancestry!