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Genealogy Benefits

May 21, 2008
Genealogy is an interesting hobby that has many psychological benefits. Technology enables even a non skilled researcher to gain more information faster and more efficiently and in turn benefit significantly!

The actual definition of genealogy refers to the tracing of unified languages and the tracing of vital data. Although I will be using the terms interchangeably, family history refers to a number of forms of research which we commonly refer to as genealogy. These forms include;

 Genealogy which is using archival records to trace a living person's pedigree from the present back in time or the tracing of a historic person's decadency forward,

 Genetic Genealogy which is the comparison of DNA of living individuals to discover relationships.

 One-name studies which refer to an investigation of person's with a common surname.

 One-place studies which refer to an investigation of the population histories of a particular location.

 Heraldic and Peerage studies which refer to the investigation of the legal rights of a person to bear arms or claim noble status.

 Clan studies refer to a comparison of individuals with shared patrilineal or matrilineal connection to a tribal chieftain regardless of blood relation or surname.

 Family Social and Economic History which refers to the overview of a person's place in society or economic achievements. Information about lives from wider historical sources using oral and written records is utilized.

Genealogical research often begins with an approximate notion of the extent of the entity and always ends at or before prehistoric times.

The motivation to conduct genealogical research varies from religious belief systems, pride of decent from certain groups, the desire to know medical and family history of an adopted individual or celebrating resilience of families who survived poverty or slavery. Families can celebrate the success of integration across racial or national boundaries. Families have even been known to emphasize their link to celebrity criminals!

There are psychological benefits to conducting genealogical research. In its most general sense people adopt this past time as a leisure activity. Any leisure activity will have generic benefits. The psychological benefits of this particular leisure activity are much more significant. A sense of accomplishment and independence is gained from the simple act of researching and compiling information. Tracing family heritage can help elderly people accept the concept of death and mortality. They gain the perspective that they are a part of a long line of relatives that leaves a legacy for future generations. Genealogical research fosters a sense of self worth and belonging by mentally digesting that your ancestors and you yourself play a part in history.

From a psychological perspective, family history research satisfies fundamental needs. I will list the benefits in order starting with the most basic fundamental need.

 Social Needs; Belonging Acceptance and Friendship
 Ego Needs, Achievement, Status
 Self Actualization
 Transcendence which is similar to identifying yourself with a character in a movie.

Technology makes the research faster and more efficient than ever before. The more detailed the information the more interested the researcher will remain and the more benefits he will receive. There are multiple websites devoted specifically to this research. There is also a multitude of information instantly available through other sites which can be compiled. Instructional computer software is available to suggest avenues, organize and present your information.

The psychological benefits of genealogy are significant and plentiful. Technology enables even a non skilled researcher to gain more information faster and more efficiently and in turn benefit greatly!
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