I am often asked why I spend so much time researching and documenting my family history. Some people understand my need to know more about my roots, while other people simply think that I am wasting my time.
I clearly disagree with those that think that I am wasting my time. I believe that learning about those that came before us can provide valuable insight into not only their lives, but into our own inner strengths and abilities; it can help us understand both our similarities and differences.
Knowing very little about my family history growing up, I had no idea of the myriad of amazing, strong and talented people who were part of my extended family. Had I known that I shared DNA with some great people, I may have had more confidence in my own abilities. I may have chosen a different path in life and entered politics or followed more artistic pursuits like many of my famous and successful cousins and grandparents.
20 years ago I understood very little about my family beyond what I had been told (and that was very little!). I had no idea that a significant number of my grandparents were American (on both sides of the family), nor did I know about my Scots or English roots, let alone my ancestor's connections to significant historical events throughout most of the world, and our ties to numerous royal families.
Whether my current knowledge would have sent me on a different path in my life or not is a moot point, but I hope that my research and documentation will at least enlighten future generations about their roots. Who knows, maybe knowing about the famous people in our family may provide some descendants with confidence to pursue their own dreams?
I still hope to make more family discoveries, and to continue to contact and correspond with more long-lost relatives. Although I have yet to meet any of my "famous" cousins in person, I have met numerous "ordinary" cousins, and so far those meetings have all worked out very well. Spending time corresponding or meeting with relatives that I had not previously known has been both informative and entertaining, and who could ask for more than that?