Why Do Genealogy/Family History?

Robert W. Penry – 2024

Who does ancestral research? 
Anyone can, but the main reasons are:.     

      Curiosity – who are my ancestors?      

      Hobby – Finding ancestors better than collecting stamps.            

      Pride – Bragging Rights –

Comment “Yes, I am descended from Henry VIII.

     My response “Yes, I noted the resemblance.  

Comment “One of my ancestors was Lady Godiva.

     My response “Great, put your clothes on!”

Comment “I believe in Darwinian Evolution” 

     My response “Fine, report back home to the zoo.

Comment “My Great-Grandfather fought for the Confederacy.”  

     My response “Mine did too.  He fought for the U.S. We won

Family History – Goes beyond who, where, and when.  It also Includes how, and why, and adds historical conditions such war, persecution, racism, immigration, hard times, employment, romance and marriage, legends, humorous events, etc.  

      Special Groups.  Example DAR – was my ancestor in the American Revolution?

      Theological – Temple ordinances for ancestors.    

      Legal – prove inheritance or ownership rights.

      Medical – What physical conditions are inherited that may cause problems.

      Educational – instruction courses, research techniques, Help Desks.

      Occupation – aProfessional Genealogist/Family Historian, b. Family History Author-People, Places, Events, etc., c. History Professor or d. Family History Lecturer.

      I am not a genealogist. I am a Family Historian. I use the techniques (tools of genealogy to accomplish Historical Research.  If a teacher is in the automotive area, the course is – “Auto Maintenance”, not “Toolbox!” The car, not the toolbox, is repaired.

The findings in Family History Research, not the methods, are the result.

I am gathering information on my family, not gathering how to write a date or place. The techniques used are genealogical tools. The findings are Family History.  Thus, I am a Family Historian.

My goal is to help others build a family narrative, a history of their ancestry, a portrait, not a list.


Whatever the reason, it is never a waste of time.  Whether a long-term labor, or a family reunion event, something is always gained. 
It may be knowledge, or simply an increase in affection and appreciation of family.  



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