Sunday, February 4, 2007

Do we need to know history to do Genealogy

Do we need to know history to do Genealogy

An interesting Question and one without an easy answer. It all depends on what you want to get out of your research on your family. If all your are trying to do is put together a family tree with dates and statistics then the answer for you is NO.

But, if you want to understand your ancestors and what their life was like it helps to know that Uncle Joe died on June 6th 1944 in France because it was DDay. I’m not saying you need a college degree in Medieval French Bathroom Fixtures, but what I would suggest is that you familize yourself with the basic history of the country your ancestors came from. It’s important to investigate that nation’s history because it might not match American history. If you ask an American when did World War 2 start most can tell you Dec 7th 1941, but a Frenchman, Englishman or Pole will tell you September of 1939. I recently witnessed two good genealogists argue about the date of the civil war. After a few minutes I realized they were both right because they were talking about two different wars. One the American Civil War (1861 –1865 and the other the English Civil war. Quick what’s Independence Day? -------- I bet most of yall said the 4th of July, well your right unless your ancestors lived in Mexico then its May 5th. The Date that Mexico won their independence from France.

What I am trying to say is a basic knowledge of History gives us a better perspective on our ancestors lives.

NOTE: Although I come at it from humorous point of view, the necessity of knowing History to do Genealogy cannot be stressed enough. You will never understand the "Why" of your family history without understanding the history of the times.

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