I just read a marvelous article on a blog called “Personal Past”. The article is called Not How-to but Why-do? This article deals with a couple of big questions. Why do we research? How do we research based on why we research?
Why do I research? I research because I had to do a project near the end of college when finishing my History degree on my family tree. Included in this project was a paper on researching women in the family and the roles they held through the generations. When the project and paper were finished I was hooked. From that point on I wanted to research to tell the stories of my ancestors.
Researching family history is similar to being a detective. You find pieces of a puzzle and you have to figure out how to put it together and how to find the missing pieces. Putting pieces together gives me a sense of accomplishment when I finally solve a mystery.
I also strive to tell the stories of the people in my family who were doing great things when their life was cut short. Many of these people served in our armed forces and should be honored and remembered.
I love to find connections between my ancestors and my life. What things did they do that I do? What things did they do that I cannot fathom doing? What things did they do I wish I could do?
I want to know the whole truth and story. I dig into every source I can to find the truth, especially when the person whose story I want to know has passed away and cannot give me any answers.
One of my dreams it to be an author and write my family history and some of my ancestor’s full stories. My research is currently giving me that opportunity.
And finally, I think a major reason I research is to quench my thirst for knowledge on historical topics.
How does this affect how I research? I first try to find all the documents I can proving the existence of the person, their relationship to others in the family, and their life. I then delve into the history of the time period in which the person lived. This gives my person a fuller, more interesting story.
Why do you research?