Why Do Genealogy Research – Is It Worth It?

Hello again, I this article we are going to answer the above question. I know you might think that the subject is a bit odd, but there is a method to my madness. Over many years I would dabble working on my research, picking it up occasionally when I had a moment, but those moments seemed to be months apart.

I am sure you know what I am talking about, work, family, friends, community and church, responsibilities. Yes! You know what I am talking about; I thought you would. Genealogy for most of us gets put on the back burner; why is that?

Because genealogy research is a process and requires attention to detail and as we become busy in our lives with few precious moments to do much else or do we find it too challenging to pursue and become discouraged.

So the question remains, is it worth it?  Let’s take another look at the process.

[i]Let’s see what Wikipedia says about Genealogy and the research process:

  • Genealogical research is a complex process that uses historical records and sometimes genetic analysis to demonstrate kinship.
  • Reliable conclusions are based on the quality of sources, ideally original records, the information within those sources, ideally primary or firsthand information, and the evidence that can be drawn, directly or indirectly, from that information.

The section Research of our search of genealogy in Wikipedia has additional information if you wish to continue reading, with the above information we have an insight into the complexities involved in genealogy research. So hence the question; why go genealogy research?

Complex Process – Intimidating?

Before we answer the main question, there are a few processes we need to look at so we can respond to the question correctly in this section.  Let’s simplify the process and see what we find.

[ii]Remember always that we are engaged in a quest for the truth, like family history researchers we consistently:

  • Record the source for each item of information they collect.
  • Test every hypothesis or theory against credible evidence, and reject those not supported by evidence.
  • Seek original records or reproduce images of them when there is reasonable assurance they have not altered, as the basis for their research conclusions.
  • Use compilations, communications, and published works, whether paper or electronic, primarily for their value as guides to locating the original records.
  • State something as a fact only when supported by convincing evidence, and identify the evidence when communicating the truth to others.
  • Limit words like probable or possible, any statement based on less than convincing evidence, and state the reasons.
  • Avoid misleading other researchers by either intentionally or carelessly distributing or publishing inaccurate information.
  • State carefully and honestly the results of their research, and acknowledge all of the other researchers’ work.
  • Recognize the collegial nature of genealogical research by making their work available to others through publication, or by placing copies in appropriate libraries or repositories, and by welcoming critical comment.
  • Consider with open minds new evidence or comments of others on their work and the conclusions they have reached.

Well, we have just discovered by simplifying the process and being truthful and ethical in how we approach our research we can easily take the scariness out of the equation.

So the answer is NO, not intimidating.

Ethical research – Can I do it?Why Do Genealogy Research

Ethics is our conscience telling us to be true to the moral principles we were born with; without them, we become less than our full potential. Ethics is fundamental to us, proceeding with any form of research in any field.

Ethics is not a new concept for any of us; we are all aware of our conscience, prompting us to make the ethical choice regardless of the criticisms we might endure from those who choose unethical avenues.

We now know that we can be a researcher because we are truthful, and our moral compass is pointing in the right direction. Genealogy research is about being as accurate as possible, and when uncertain with the outcome, make detailed notes of our uncertainties. We do not publish our findings until we have done exhausting research. Remember, our results are shared with others online, and they, in turn, share theirs.

These values are not only for professional genealogist they are also for those of us doing a personal search for our ancestors.

The answer to this question is a resounding YES; you are ethical; you were born with this gift. You can do ethical research.

Rewards – After hard work

You’ve been searching for a 5th generation grandfather for weeks. The only information you have to start with is the first and last name. During your many searches but there were many names the same.

Then you decided to look at Census records. You already have birth dates and death dates of your 4th gen. grandparents, using that information you perform a search. Upon doing so, you find a census record with the same names and birth years as your 4th gen. grandparents. Looking closer, you see that one of the children has the same name as the grandfather in your original search. Oh my gosh, awesome.

Imagine the feeling when you have been looking for so long, taking notes of each search? Now, you have possibly found your grandfather. This search as given you an about birth year, as well as place this family lived. Now you have excellent information to use as you continue your quest to discover more about this elusive ancestor.

There is still much research to do, but this start is exciting. You have found a few pieces of information that will prove to be valuable as you continue to search.

1920 US Census example

Just viewing old documents sends a chill of excitement that is hard to explain. I love the whole experience, and what makes it rewarding is the fact that this is my relative, my ancestor, my grandparent(s).

Why? Because it’s worth it

So if this sounds like your life right now, that’s all right your not alone, there will always be the right time to work on your research. When you lit the spark, there was no going back.

Because the tree you are building is your family, they lived, they loved, had families, helped build towns, worked to provide for their family, defended their country, all so you could exist.

We owe them so much the least we can do is find them get to know everything we can about them.

I cannot express enough the joy and satisfaction that comes from finding even what seems to be the smallest amount of evidence.

Why do Genealogy research? Because it is worth it. There is a deep feeling of gratitude for those who have come before our ancestors, our forefathers, our kin; and watch our family tree grow from the roots up with pride and satisfaction.

Thank you for taking the time to pursue your heritage.

Please feel free to comment and voice your opinion on the topic.

Kindest Regards


[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genealogy Section Research Process

[ii] Notes from 2001 Family History Seminar, Lethbridge, Alberta

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