Tracing your roots

Researching your family history may sound like an arduous task, but journalist Caroline Buijs finds tracing your roots and uncovering the stories of your family’s past is less complicated than you might think. You can read about it in our Love & Life special, here we share an excerpt of the feature.

Why would you go to all that trouble to research your family history? For one thing, it can be quite fun. Maybe you have a general interest in history anyway and you’re curious about the role that your ancestors played in it. According to Dutch historian Johan Huizinga, “History is the spiritual form in which a culture becomes aware of its past.” Mapping out your family tree gives you insight into your past, and allows you to trace the route your family followed in recent centuries which led to you.

Have family members perhaps had the same profession as you have now? Or maybe they did or stood up for something that you are interested in now? Learning about your ancestors also presents an ideal opportunity to strike up a different sort of conversation with your parents, uncles, aunts and perhaps also your grandparents. These talks are often valuable in that you can learn things that you would never otherwise know.

Text Caroline Buijs Collages Lee McKenna

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