With genealogy, you learn about your family tree through names, dates, locations and, sometimes, occupations.  You usually do not learn about who they were as individuals; their personalities, obstacles they faced and overcame, travels, interests, education, etc.  It’s unfortunate, because those experiences influenced their choices and decisions, which flowed through that family tree to ultimately impact how you were raised and how you reached your current perspectives on life.

Imagine yourself listed on a family tree in the distant future, indicating only your name, birth and death dates.  How sad it would be for your descendants not to know who you were as a person; your life experiences, so they could better understand themselves.



As a personal historian, I constantly and consistently witness families looking at one another with renewed appreciation after reading a relative’s life story.  They see their parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles as unique, interesting human beings, with whom they just happen to be related.


The holidays are fast approaching.  Do yourself and those you love a favor.  Take advantage of your time together by asking questions regarding their lives.  It can be lighthearted (e.g., What were your favorite toys or games when you were little?) or insightful (e.g., What was the best advice you ever received?).  Record them.  Transcribe them.  Save them for the future. 

Don’t forget to make notes of your answers as well.  You, too, are an important part of the family history.

What questions do you wish you could ask your ancestors?

You Are A Classic

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