For most people, digging into the past doesn’t seem like an entirely positive prospect – who knows what kind of skeletons one ends up finding in that closet, but when applied to the practice of Genealogy, the phrase “digging into the past” takes on a whole new meaning – one that is positive, at times surprising, but more often than not rewarding experience.
Family Genealogy is all about looking back at the past and tracing your family’s lineage and history all the way down to the roots of the so-called family tree. Those who delve into this study find many rewards at the end of their work, at the top of the list of which is finding a sense of kinship with many different kinds of people both in the present and from the past, and many of whom they may not even know they are related to.
Of the 6 billion or so people living in the world today, you will be surprised at who among those billions you can certainly call part of your family. Former president George W. Bush, for example, may have been one of those amused at the distant relation between him and staunch political rival, John Kerry, his cousin, whom he ran against in the U.S. presidential elections of 2004. More surprising is the family connection, though distant, between him and Playboy icon Hugh Hefner – talk about opposite ends of the pole.
One just never knows what kind of surprises tracing kinship brings through Genealogy research. Although this kind of research may include tough encounters with misplaced or inadequate documentation, paper trails that lead to dead ends and a lot of trips to the library, the triumph one feels at the success of being able to trace kinship through the veins of history definitely trumps any hardships one may encounter during this experience.
Tracing your roots back into the distant and not-so-distant past may also be a unifying experience not just for you but also for those people whom you find are part of your family. It is a chance for you to expand that intimate circle of people whom you care about into a bigger circle, one that you can trust and count on by the simple fact of your relation.
Reaching back into the past through genealogy is also a way for people to discover more about themselves through the collective experiences of their ancestors. This knowledge isn’t just about a sense of self-history but also about a sense of inner knowledge shaped by the people who contributed to bringing you into the present.
So reach out and reach back. Discover more about yourself and the people you love and be ready for the surprises that will come your way as you look into your family’s genealogy. Who knows, you might even be related to a celebrity, a pop star, a politician or a newsmaker – anyone of whom ought to make you proud.