Where do I come from? That question weighs on a lot of people's minds, especially those who have little family to ask. Researching genealogy has become more popular in recent years, but why? For one thing, the science is more readily available to the average person. Additionally, more and more people have realized how much they can learn and gain from knowing more about their backgrounds. Let's dive in and learn more.
Benefits of Researching Genealogy
So what can you learn from finding out more about your genealogy? There are a bunch of benefits, but here are a few highlights.
Medical History and Risks
Who doesn't want to learn more about their risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more? Learning about your family history can reveal information about health that you didn't know before. Consequently, you can discuss findings with your doctor and make a plan to mitigate your risks.
Researching genealogy can also reveal relatives, still living, that you didn't know about before. How interesting would it be to find some long lost relative, connect, compare stories, and form a relationship? We've discussed the importance of connecting with those from your past, but finding people you didn't know existed could make for an even better adventure!
Celebrity or Historical Ties
While this isn't the best reason to dive into your family tree, many who have researched their past have found ties to celebrities and historical figures. It gives you some bragging rights to realize that you have a direct connection to signers of the Constitution or someone from your favorite movie!
Leaving a Legacy
Lastly, most of us want to leave something behind for family members who come after us. Helping them to know their ancestry, including health history and other benefits, would leave them with information that they could use and treasure.
A word of warning: many who have started this journey have gone down the rabbit hole and become almost addicted to it. That doesn't have to be a bad thing! Finding something that interests you has benefits of its own, particularly when fighting boredom and isolation. But how do you get started? I'm glad you asked.
Do a Mail-In DNA Test
DNA testing used to be limited to only doctors and law enforcement. With the availability of this technology to the general public, more can take advantage of everything it offers. In most cases, all you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek and mail it to the testing company. The report you receive after that can contain a wealth of information about your ancestry, countries of origin, health risks, and more. You do want to be careful, however, and choose your DNA testing company carefully. Here are some tips we found on choosing a DNA test:
Research Your Ancestry
If you don't want to pay for a DNA test, that's ok! You can find a wealth of information about your family tree in other ways. While having the results from a DNA test will help you learn more in these searches, you can also use sites like ancestry.com for researching genealogy. You'll learn a few things for free, but it will cost you to take a deep dive into your ancestry. Additionally, you may have some luck getting information from the national archives. What a fascinating adventure!
Join the Conversation
If you've done some research in this area, we'd love to hear from you. You can join the discussion over on our Facebook page. What sites have you used? Where have you seen the best results? What cool stuff did you learn? We can't wait to hear.