How do you answer "Of what use is Genealogy"?

+12 votes
Some people (including my wife) can't see any benefit in genealogy.  How do you answer such attitudes?
in The Tree House by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
I generally don't try to justify it anymore. I must admit there have been times when I've been absolutely buzzing about something new I've discovered and the lack of interest has been a tad deflating but, once upon a time I wasn't interested either. They may get the bug too some day and then be actually interested in looking at all the cool stuff I've found out, or, it will simply never be - either or, now I just think so be it :)

8 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I like to do genealogy because it brings me closer to the actual history of our country and our world. When you see how we all relate to one another it makes me wonder how we can sometimes be so hateful to others.

Besides, I saw an article the other day that recommended the hobby of genealogy for us older retired folk. It's supposed to exercise our brains and stave off that dreaded senior dementia.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (500k points)
selected by Dave Dardinger
Look at it this way. Is there someone in your family with a unique talent. Art, writing, singing, mechanics anything. Chances are you will find someone they are related to from their past. It is telling history one person at a time.
Shirley, I hate to tell you but the brain still fades . . . I used to be able to quote families off the top of my head in branches across the south and centuries  but cells are fading.. Never sit still mentally or physically!  Besides, dead people don't talk back and are always lovable for something - even the black sheep.
Barbara, You are right any hobby does not stop the progression fo that disease, it just slows it down.
+6 votes
What is the purpose of general history? Or really anything.

To me there is no real point to it, besides the fact that I enjoy it and it is an amazing hobby to me. I love the network of people we can discover in genealogy.
by Davian Pfeiff G2G6 (7.5k points)
+4 votes

"For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length--and there I travel looking, looking breathlessly.” 
― Carlos CastanedaThe Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge 

by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
Great answer!!!  I agree.
+6 votes
I get the same thing from my wife. She doesn't call it genealogy, she calls it dead people. I don't care because I enjoy it. I more or less quit doing it about 15 years ago, and now Wikitree has me interested again. So I thank Wikitree for that. I just tell them I enjoy finding out things about my family.
by John Noel G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
+8 votes
I actually just do a line of their ancestors and show them who they are related to and that normally wins them over.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
My husband is one of those "what's the point?" people -- EXCEPT when I make a discovery in his line.  That's different.   :-)
+4 votes

If you dig deeply enough into your records and follow your direct ancestors and even their siblings you will eventually come to a realization that many of your own values and thought processes came down from their experiences. I can trace directly back to why I have tendencies that I'd rather not have and also why I did not get the ones I wish I had from my known great grandfather as I learned more about who he was.  I know why it happened too.  The entire picture is wrapped up in two lines, maternal and paternal and their personal experiences as you find them.  I can do this, pretty much literally, as I watch how my direct ancestors behaved in the settlement of America.  It's a valuable way to learn about human beings and yourself without spending a fortune on a counselor!  More fun too.

by Barbara Roesch G2G6 Mach 4 (43.6k points)
edited by Barbara Roesch
+2 votes
I enjoy puzzles of all types - riddles, logic puzzles, magic cubes - and genealogy is a grand, endless logic puzzle specific to me.

It's interesting to find famous relatives and cousins to collaborate with, but it's a true joy to have a structure of a family that only you (to your knowledge at least) has looked at, puzzled over, and worked out.

In a way it's like other meaningless-but-challenging hobbies, ships-in-bottles come to mind, but it gives you insight into the lives of people that actually existed. These people that have been forgotten, but contributed a tiny piece to building your life.
by J. Smith G2G Crew (710 points)
+3 votes
I have thought about this many times, i try not to use the word genealogy because generally you get a confused look in return! Family History has a slightly better response and i make sure that whenever an individual family member gets the bug then i will be their first port of call!
by Iain Cooke G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)

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