A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
—Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born activist, journalist and orator
How well do you know your family history? Have you ever explored where you came from, beyond your immediate nearest and dearest? Now could be the perfect time to begin your journey. Getting to know your ancestors can help you understand where you came from and give context to your life.
But those aren't the only benefits — here are six more reasons why you should explore your family history.
1. It Brings You Closer to Family
When you begin your family history journey, you may end up discovering new family members all over the world. This moving video tells the story of of a 102-year-old Holocaust survivor who believed his entire family had died in the war, only to discover he had a nephew who was alive and well.
2. It Boosts Emotional Health
Did you know that having a strong family narrative positively impacts emotional health? Research from psychologists at Emory University in Atlanta asked 48 families 20 questions about their family history. They found that the more children knew about their families, the stronger their sense of control over their lives. They also had higher self-esteem and believed their families functioned more successfully.
“Hearing these stories gave the children a sense of their history and a strong ‘intergenerational self’. Even if they were only nine, their identity stretched back 100 years, giving them connection, strength and resilience,” said psychologists Marshall Duke and Robyn Fivush.
3. It Increases Compassion
When we understand where we come from, we can understand our place in the world. By learning about the hardships our ancestors encountered, we can become more understanding of the inevitable ups and downs we all face and encouraged to keep the faith when times are hard. Knowing our family history can also help us to appreciate different cultures and open our minds. If you discovered you were related to someone from a different part of the world, what better excuse to go explore and get in touch with your roots?
4. It Empowers Decisions About Your Health
Knowing your family health history can help raise awareness about your risks of developing the same problems. This will empower you to look after your own health to prevent issues — whether that means changes to your diet or speaking to a family doctor about your next steps.
5. It Provides a Deeper Understanding of Cultures and Traditions
It can be fun to discover how your ancestors and wider family celebrated different events. Whether they were from a different cultural background or religion, your newfound knowledge can help expand your horizons and strengthen your understanding of your own beliefs. Delving into your family history can help you discover what exactly makes you you.
6. It Can be Passed Down to Future Generations
Once you learn about your ancestors, a Story Terrace book is the perfect way to preserve your family history for generations to come. We have hand-picked our team of experienced writers — many of whom are award-winning and critically acclaimed — who will dedicate themselves to telling your story. From arranging interviews to collating your photos, we manage the whole experience to be 100% stress-free for you. You’ll be able to preserve your life story in a beautiful way that will be treasured by future generations. Find out more here.
“Story Terrace made my dream become a reality. I really enjoyed the whole experience, and the book is absolutely fantastic. It's wonderful that my late parent's story is finally in print and that the books will be passed down to future generations so that they will get to know their family history. A big thank you to Emily, Louise, Alice, David and everyone that helped work on the book.” - Audrey, Story Terrace customer