Learning about your family history can be a great holiday activity.

December 23rd is National Roots Day, which is very appropriate since it immediately precedes the Christmas holiday that brings families together more than at any other time of the year. Home care professionals encourage everyone to take a keen interest in their family heritage and roots and to be familiar with the ancestry of your family throughout the long centuries of its existence. In Marysville and elsewhere in this country, everyone should take the time around the holidays to find out more about the family tree, and take it beyond the level of living grandparents that everyone is familiar with.

A fun holiday activity 

Although it may be something you don't think about very often, when you do think about it, family history can be a very intriguing topic. Almost everyone would like to have an understanding of what life was like for their ancestors, their struggles, their successes, the challenges they faced, and the qualities which made them unique persons. Many young persons today have only a cursory knowledge of their parents' history, much less a knowledge of generations prior to their parents. A full 28% of people polled on this topic responded that they didn't really know as much about their own mother as they would like to. 

When getting together with family members over the holiday season, why not encourage a little investigation into the family history, so family members can have a better understanding of their ancestors and where they came from? It can really get interesting if family members volunteer to research specific periods of history, and it can be great fun to share that information when the group gets together. It often carries the same kind of intrigue that a mystery might provide, and this is something that everyone can relate to and can enjoy.

Finding out who you are

There are of course other benefits to tracing your family genealogy, besides having a fun project to do with other family members. One of the most important of these is to find out information about who you really are, and how the characteristics of your ancestors may have been passed on to you. You may find out the reason why you have always been totally committed to accomplishing tasks set before you, or you may find that your stubbornness comes directly from a relative from the distant past. In any case, you might just find out a lot more about yourself after you've learned about the men and women in your direct family tree.

Medical information

A number of medical conditions are inherited, or at least the predisposition for those medical conditions are. You may not want to learn that you have a long history of heart disease in your family, but you will certainly be better off knowing it because it will give you the opportunity to do everything in your power to avoid that same condition yourself. There are a great many things which can be done to avoid developing heart disease, and if your family is predisposed to heart disease, you may want to consider adopting some of these measures yourself.

By learning about your family's medical history, you should be equipped with the knowledge that will encourage you to take preventive measures yourself, so you can avoid those same problems. When you're aware of likely triggers that can impact your health, you stand a much better chance of not being surprised by them yourself at some point in your lifetime. 

Educating family youngsters

Almost without a doubt, if you dig deep enough and go far enough back into the past, you'll find that you've had some less than desirable relatives. By the time you've gone back about eight generations, you should have approximately 4,000 relatives to investigate in your family tree, and the simple odds dictate that at least a few of those individuals are going to be somewhat unsavory. However, you should not attempt to bury this part of your family ancestry but should mention it all right along with all those wonderful, admirable relatives of the past.

Young people in your family should know about the family history, regardless of how many good persons brought honor to the family, or how many bad ones gave the family a black eye. What relatives from your past did has nothing to do with your own character and your own activities, but is merely a reflection of how they responded to challenges and events of their times. Of course, when you're relating family history to young people in the family, it's perfectly natural to emphasize the terrific exploits of your more accomplished ancestors, while minimizing time spent on miscreants.

The family tree of the future 

There's one last reason why exploring the past about your family is a good idea and one which should be encouraged among other family members. At some point in time, you are going to pass on yourself, and when that happens you'll become one more branch of the family tree. You will probably feel much better when thinking how future generations of your family will have the curiosity and interest to learn about past members of the family, including yourself. Everyone wants to be remembered and thought well of, so start encouraging everyone in your family to look into their past, and keep alive the memory of those who came before.