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Why Should I Care?

When you begin thinking about genealogy, or hear other family members speak of the subject, you may think to yourself, "But why should I care?" Simple: It's in your blood. All jokes aside, there are many advantages to researching your family history, and when you are done with your research, it is beneficial to your entire family to share the information for a number of reasons. Studying genealogy is an important pastime for you and your relatives.

Before you begin to grumble, realize that researching your family history does not have to become a major part of your life. If you find that you enjoy the work, great-make it a hobby you spend a lot of time and money doing. However, if you aren't a history buff (or perhaps don't get along with your family very well), you don't have to devote hours every day to research. By learning a few simple facts, you can keep yourself and your children healthy and educated.

First off, studying your family tree is important for health purposes. There's a reason your doctor wants to know your mother and father's health history when you go in for a check-up. Many diseases are passed through your genes, so learning a little about the health of you parents and grandparents may help you and your children take preventative measures against such diseases. You can also make more educated decisions in your lifestyle choices if you know you have a predisposition for a certain disease. For example, if all four of your grandparents have diabetes, you may be able to prevent this in yourself by eating healthier from a young age and encouraging your children to do the same. If you find any trends in your family's health history, you should share this information with relatives, so that they and their children can remain healthy as well.

Beyond your health, learning about your family tree also helps your stay educated about yourself. There are many resources online and in print that can tell you what your surname means, for example. You can also probably find information relating to your family crest, and other special family insignia. This may be a fun project for your children, and it will also help you and them both learn a little more about using a library for research or looking for information on the Internet. Other fun information your research could uncover includes burial places that would be perfect vacation spots, famous relatives, or information about family heirlooms that you may now own. In any case, it's nice to at least know your family's country of origin. You don't have to devote your life to the pursuit of family history, but by filling in a few of the gaps, you will be able to pass these chunks of information on to your children to help them stay healthy and be proud about their background.

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