One of the most popular reasons for doing a DNA test is to learn more about your family history, but there’s more to it than that. Find out more beneficial reasons here.
Everyone enjoys the stories that grandma and grandpa used to tell. Tales of what life was like not too long ago to make understanding them just a little better and easier. They told of us of the old ways of doing everyday things and how life differed from what we are accustomed to today. Sometimes it was difficult to imagine that they would partake in certain activities because all we saw were elderly people. It was strange to wrap our minds around the fact that grandpa was a boxing champion or that grandma had won a beauty contest. Even more intriguing were the stories of those who we never had a chance to meet. This could include their own grandparents, encounters with some interesting famous people, or historical happenings, like wars.
Working on a family tree will give you the gift of knowing yourself so much better than you thought you did. Activities, mannerisms, and hobbies you have might be discovered in censuses and stories describing distant ancestors. It is pretty incredible to think that a part of who you are was actually a gift from someone you never had a chance to meet.
We all want to enjoy a healthy and happy life and that means developing a plan to prevent issues. In the past, we were able to determine our risks of certain health problems by giving our family history. Knowing what our parents, grandparents, and siblings have dealt with can give us a heads up on what to look out for in the future.
While traditional genealogy can still assist us with our health history, it can only go so far. Detailed death records only span the last 100-150 years quite often, covering only a few generations back. Modern technology now allows us to have our DNA analyzed and used to determine our health risks and predispositions for certain conditions.
One popular service available is 23andMe. For a nominal cost and little hassle, you can get a report about your health risks for certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. It goes even further with recommendations to make your life better.
For instance, perhaps you have had stomach issues and never realized you had a problem with lactose intolerance. Thinking of starting a family? This test can also tell you whether you carry genes for various disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and genetic hearing loss. Even small traits like the inability to taste bitter foods are reported.
If you have already used a service that doesn’t include a health report, such as AncestryDNA, you can still obtain these important facts. AncestryDNA allows you to download your raw DNA information and you can then take it to a website like Promethease to have it analyzed further for health purposes. It is recommended that you take your report with you to your doctor and share it to come up with the best course of action.
Our ethnicity is a huge part of how we perceive ourselves and many of us get that information from word of mouth. You might be shocked to find out that quite often, that information was completely incorrect. Creating a family tree and researching it, heavily, can give you a paper trail and tell you where your ancestors originated. If you were told that your great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess, you will probably find it interesting that she was actually Italian. A census here and a ship manifest there and all of the sudden your perception of yourself is made clear.
Again, touching on DNA genealogy, using a service like FamilyTreeDNA can dig even further and give estimates of your specific ethnicities. So many people believe they are completely one thing or the other and it’s a fascinating journey to make these discoveries. Knowing your true ethnicities not only allows you to learn more about those cultures but opens your mind to look beyond what you may have always been told.
Taking a trip to Disneyworld or the beach may be a lot of fun, but researching your ancestry can really add a new dimension to travel. When you find out where your ancestors are from, you can take your children on a small step in the past and show them some of those landmarks. From discovering a farm your grandfather grew up on or a building he may have been a blacksmith in, the stories come to life when you take a trip. It may even surprise you that you can meet an extended family member who could have photographs you have never seen and stories you have never heard. Giving your children the facts about their heritage is a fabulous gift.
It is very important to know that whether you do traditional ancestry research or DNA genealogy, you are going to uncover some family secrets. While doing her family history, one woman found out that her great-great grandfather was a counterfeiter and disappeared from prison during the night. Another woman found out that her great-great uncle murdered his brother.
Sometimes uncovering birth records can come as a shock when you don’t see the name you were always told would be on it. DNA can definitely rock a person’s identity when a secretive indiscretion was covered up with lies. Be forewarned that you will find out information you may find unpalatable, but most will appreciate having a clear understanding of the history behind the person they are today.
There are many reasons to consider researching your ancestral history. From learning stories and facts to preserving your own health, genealogy is an amazing hobby. By clearing up myths and misconceptions, we can give our future generations an accurate view of where their ancestors came from, what they did and how they left this earth. These facts are all extremely important and can truly enhance their lives.