William S. Wilbanks Nancy Hunt Clem


Helping To Discover Your Identity

Genealogy, the study of your Family History, is one of the top hobbies in the United States!

More and more Americans are interested in discovering their roots, their cultural heritage, and learning the part that their family played in the great American Experience.

At some point in their lives, everyone asks themselves “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?”. It is part of human nature.

When a parent or grandparent dies, we belatedly think about our family history. The urge to learn about our family and ourselves becomes ever stronger.

As a historian, I truly believe in the concept that you cannot truly move forward in life without a better understanding of where you come from, whether from personal, family, and national history.

In everyday life, you are asked about your personal or family history, either in casual conversation, interviews, or questionnaires, such as: “What is your background?”, “Where does your family come from?”, “What is your ethnicity?”, “What is your educational background or working experience?”, “What are your parent’s names, including mother’s maiden name?”, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”, “When did you settle in this city?”; and the questions go on.

You may not realize that you practice Genealogy in your everyday life. You have a birth and marriage certificate, perhaps your parents’ death certificate, and other documents of a legal nature. You keep a photo album, diary or journal, or a scrapbook. You inherited certain family heirlooms with stories behind each of them. You have family traditions; truly an indication of your heritage. You keep track of birthdays and wedding anniversaries of family members.

Genealogy is contributing more and more significantly to the study of local, regional or national history. To study the history of a community, it becomes necessary to study the families in that community. Views change on various aspects of history through more in-depth and detailed research of individuals, families and groups of people, many times changing the generalizations that had long been believed. Unusual and unique relationships are being discovered between famous Americans.

Most importantly, journals, memoirs and diaries are being dug out of old family trunks. The most important records for studying historical events are personal accounts. More than half of the records studied in the American Civil War are personal accounts of the people who were there. World War II was 70 years ago. Veterans are dying at the rate of 1000 per day. They are being sought out for interviews of their experience. Years from now Korea and Vietnam Veterans will be interviewed. Why wait?

Studying your family’s history helps to bring history alive and make it more exciting. It is fascinating to learn why your family left home to come to America. It is wild to learn that your family fought in the Civil War or the American Revolution, helping to preserve or even establish this country. It is incredible to learn that your ancestors came over on the Mayflower or settled Jamestown.

Even the sad events, such as slavery, the treatment of the American Indians, and the harshness of frontier life are enlightening. You will realize that as hard as your life is, you have it easy compared to your ancestors, and you will feel grateful toward them for what they gave up and endured to make a better life for themselves and their families; including you. They left us a legacy to be proud of.

Genealogy has even become faddish or fashionable. Every St. Patrick’s Day everyone wants to be Irish. During Oktober Fest, everyone is German, and at Cinco De Mayo, everyone is Mexican. Most African-Americans wish to find their slave ancestors, and many Anglo-Americans wish to find distant Indian heritage. If you can prove a Revolutionary War ancestor you can join the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution. It is even interesting to find that an ancestor had two wives, or fell in with outlaws, or maybe was an embarrassment to the family.

However, Genealogy isn’t just for fun. Now it is becoming significantly important. More and more illnesses and diseases, both psychological and medical, are being found to have a genetic basis, and therefore they are realized to be hereditary. Researching your family’s history, including special health conditions and diseases, can help you to learn what you are likely to inherit and therefore you can begin to take precautions or change your behavior to avoid that predisposition. Not only is this important to yourself, but if you are a parent or a parent-to-be, you want to raise your children to learn the behavior necessary to avoid these predispositions.

Genealogy is not difficult, though it can take time. Learn and start now. You are never too old or too young. It is never too late; but it can be too late. One of the important aspects of genealogy is to have old family members to ask and answer your questions, because when they are gone, you will miss a lot of important information and wonderful family stories. Even if your family is not from here, or just recently came to this country, you can still research your family history locally without difficulty; wherever you are.

When you are ready to get started, contact us to learn how. Or, visit the following recommended helpful links to see what you could possibly find right now on the internet.

Home Services Education Publications Writings About Contact News Why Genealogy Helpful Links

Ancestral Pride: Professional Genealogy Services is a registered trade name certified with the State of Arizona, Department of State.

©2009-2014, Robert M. Wilbanks IV, Scottsdale, Arizona