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The Power of Knowing Your Family History

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Researching, recording, and preserving your genealogy is like giving your family tree stronger roots from which to grow. Generations to come can draw from this strength and gain life-changing benefits. In fact, here are a few specific gifts that can come from knowing your family's history.

It helps you make better health choices.

From a medical standpoint, knowing your family's health history can help identify a chance of having certain diseases. Conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers can be influenced by genetic factors. By noticing the health patterns of relatives, doctors can determine whether you or other family members have an increased risk of developing a particular condition.

Knowing this information is powerful and positive because it can help you make better choices regarding food, exercise, and other activities that could impact your health. It also allows you to take preventative steps, such as more frequent screenings and checkups, to reduce your risk.

It provides a clear sense of identity.

Learning about your ancestors, celebrating family traditions, and understanding where you came from can open your eyes to how special you are. This information enhances your sense of belonging, and it can be especially helpful for younger generations.

When children hear family stories, it creates a shared history and strengthens emotional bonds. They realize the definition of who they are is not something independent and spun from nowhere. It's embedded in a long, intergenerational family story. A family they'll be connected to forever.

It can make you feel resilient.

More than likely, your ancestors faced historical events and situations that seem impossible to overcome. Learning about their stories and how they got through difficult times can provide the courage and strength you may need to overcome your own challenges. In essence, knowing your family history can build your resilience.

This idea has been reinforced by a study about the resilience of children. It was discovered that "the more children knew about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned." Simply knowing their family history turned out to be the best single predictor of children's emotional health and happiness. What a priceless gift to pass along!

It can give you more compassion.

The stories of your ancestors can help shape you into a more grateful and empathetic version of yourself. For example, as you learn more about your grandfather, you may discover he fought in World War I, and upon return, worked hard to provide for his family during the post-war recession. You realize your ancestors' resourcefulness and ability to thrive are an essential part of your own narrative. Whatever stories are in your past, they could inspire a greater sense of compassion and love for your family – and yourself.

Exploring Your Own Story

Whether you're just now learning about your ancestors or you have an entire history book that details your family's cherished history and traditions, it's important to dig in. Take the time to research further, write down your thoughts, and retell the story of your family. Share the positive moments as well as your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. This exercise alone can be incredibly powerful and increase your family's ability to thrive for generations to come.

To help you get started, here are a few story ideas to share with your kids and grandchildren to be sure they know their connection to you and your shared past:

  • Where your grandparents grew up and what life was like during that time
  • Your best memory from childhood
  • Something important you learned as an adult
  • Where their mom and dad went to high school
  • Where and how their parents met
  • A common health condition in the family and ways they can prevent itThe story of their birth and any special details you remember about their childhood

Need a resource to help fill in missing pieces of your family puzzle? Ancestry.com is a great place to start. It's the world's most extensive collection of online family history records, making it possible to find generations of your family and their stories. It's also an easy spot to collect photos, records, and more. Enjoy discovering your roots, passing along cherished stories, and ultimately feeling empowered by knowing who you truly are!

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like these posts about family. At Resort Lifestyle Communities, we cherish family connections and often write about this topic on our blog, so be sure to check back often.


Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit RLCommunities.com.

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