3    Mar 20141 comment

Family history: Why are you researching?

Many of us are familiar with the phrase "To know where you are going, you must know where you have been." This age-old idea stresses the importance of learning about our past to help us succeed in the future.

Here are some variations of that same phrase:

“It's always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you're going.” - Anthony Burgess

“Know from whence you came. If you know from whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” - James Baldwin

We currently live in an era of constant progress and change. We tend to look only at where we are going and our future goals, as opposed to looking back. We think our ancestors lived in very different times, and therefore that there is little to learn to help with our own experiences and our modern-day challenges.

We must remember that the past is the foundation on which the present is built. Our family history and our ancestors, from generations past, have shaped who we are as family units and as individuals.
On a macro level, a group's shared past influences their shared culture. On a micro level, one's parents’ upbringing affects one's own upbringing.

Discovering and learning about our ancestors helps us form a richer picture of how and why they lived as they did. When looking back in history, we can see the big picture, reflect upon our ancestors' lives and how they changed. Positive examples of historical significance help guide us. Negative experiences also teach us to change paths -- and they steer us in the right direction.

We can face almost any challenge and make decisions about our future, based upon the knowledge and experience of our predecessors, because we have the whole picture of what the outcomes were.

How does learning about your ancestors help you plan your future? Let us know in the comments below.

Search for your ancestors:

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  1. I am not like others who have been reincarnated into the same family over and over. My last life was in Russia and there is no-one in my family from there. So if I were to die and choose to return to this family it might be because this family intrigues me.
    I think it intrigues me because the Angle background has mangaed to survive despite many intermarriages with other ethnicities. I suspect that it is a dominant trait.

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