17 Reasons Why Family History is Good for You

If you’re a die-hard family historian, this post isn’t for you. Why? Because you already know how awesome researching is, and in reality you’re probably like me, and can’t understand why everyone isn’t in to it. Alas, they aren’t so.

So for everyone else, let me give you some reasons (my own personal ones at that), as to WHY I believe family history is good for you. But feel free to chip in with others if you have more.


  • You’ll become the king or queen of organisation (well, that’s the theory anyway). As researchers we acquire so much information (often in paper form as well as electronic form), all of which needs a good filing system to keep it retrievable. So over time you WILL learn to become organised. You have to.
  • Geography. Yes, seriously. I promise you you will get a whole lot better at geography (at least in the areas your ancestors came from)
  • And history. You will learn history. After all you have to know what happened where in the world to put your family history in context
  • If your family is from a foreign (non-English speaking) country, you will amaze yourself by learning enough of the language to be able to read genealogical documents. And for other words and phrases we always have Google Translate and Babel Fish to help if needed
  • After spending weeks scrolling through census, parish records and wills, you’ll be 100% proficient at reading anyone’s handwriting! After all those census enumerators and parish priests certainly gave us a challenge
  • You’ll learn new words like “taphophilia“, “centimorgan” and “ahnentafel
  • Not to mention understanding the “ye olde” language, medical and occupational terms that were used back in the day. (Thank goodness for old dictionaries)
  • You’ll develop a better memory. True. You’ll be remembering names, dates and facts of your ancestors in no time. And you’ll quite likely remember them better than you remember the birthday’s of those living
  • You’ll become a bit of a sleuth. A detective, sussing out what records are where, and how they are likely to help. Then actually making considered responses based on the evidence


  • Genealogy is outdoorsy. Ok, well it is to a degree. We like visiting cemeteries, which we can happily do for hours, and is super great for the step count
  • Then there’s the effort involved in clearing overgrowth in cemeteries
  • And did you know that genealogy is great yoga? After sitting at your desk for probably too many hours, you’ll get up and stretch up (or bend down) to get to books, folders or records, which no doubt are heavy, so you could count that as weight lifting too (bonus!)
  • Also have you heard of the genealogist’s sprint. That is when you’re at a library or archives and need to go to take a break, but don’t want to lose your desk … so, you literally sprint. Great cardio!


  • When you do family history you will make the best friends. Both with others who are researching as well as newly discovered extended family
  • We all know about the genealogy happy dance, don’t we! Excitement + dancing (win, win)
  • You’ll discover the truly amazing lives that your ancestors lived. Both the highs and lows, the good and the bad, You’ll come to ‘know’ them, and appreciate that they are a part of what made you, you
  • You know all those family traits everyone has … well you may well find out who to blame for yours

So you’ll see that the combination of skills, exercise and the excitement that family history creates – really does makes researching a worthwhile endeavour. Wouldn’t you agree?

So if you’ve been holding off getting started … wait no more. Do it now … for you, your family AND your health!

4 Responses to “17 Reasons Why Family History is Good for You”

  1. GenieJen says:

    Great post, Alona

  2. Terrific post, Alona. Do I reeeeeaaaaally have to get organised? 😉

  3. Gail White says:

    Love your post Alona. I knew family history research was good for me – I haven’t been sick for 25 years! Could we have your permission top republish this in our members’ newsletter?
    Gail White
    Family History Connections

    • Alona says:

      Hi Gail, thankyou for taking the time to read my post and comment. And yes, you’re more than welcome to republish my post. I do just ask that you put my name, blog name, and URL with it.

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