Column: Can You Discuss Genealogy Without History?

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Can You Discuss Genealogy Without History?

Snippet: Speaking with other genealogists, I’m sometimes surprised when I learn they are not interested in history. Their goal is to gather the names and data on individuals in their family tree. Period. They aren’t interested in the times their ancestors lived or the important events in history they may have experienced or lived through.

I politely tell them they are missing some of the essential aspects of genealogy, and some of the most interesting. Knowing the history allows us to better understand our ancestors and why they made the choices they made. Even simple details make me think, ones such as knowing my grandparents didn’t have running water or electricity until their children were grown. What challenges did this create for them? How did it shape their future?

Often I try to instill the importance of history with something more tangible, more recent that can be remembered in my or my parents’ lifetime. The Second World War is an obvious one. Why did my father leave the small rural community in which he lived? He didn’t want a life of cutting pulp wood, so he enlisted in the army and served overseas. When he returned to Canada, he found work in Halifax.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

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