Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are Descendants Necessary?

People often ask genealogists why we do what we do.

Most of us can give an answer that satisfies the question, such as, "I want to show my children where they came from" or "I want to put history in a more personal context for myself and my children."

However, is it really necessary to have children for a person to even care about genealogy?

I don't think so.

I am fortunate enough to have a son (about to turn 10) and a daughter on the way.  However, if I did not have children, I would be just as eager to pursue genealogy.

Most of us probably were turned on to family history at a young age, perhaps by a school project, a relative's stories, or an interest in history and knowing more about our origins.  In fact, I think an interest in history often overlaps with genealogy.  Goodness knows I find both fascinating, and the very few times I pick up a non-fiction book to read for pleasure, it is generally about history.

So why research family history if you do not have someone to pass the research on to someday?  Well, why does a teacher teach?  Why does a policeman or fireman go out there to save lives?  You may as well ask creative types - writers, artists, photographers, dancers, actors, singers - why they do what they do.

They do it for love, whether of the work or an ideal embodied in it.  Many of these endeavors also leaves a legacy, and I do not think having descendants is absolutely necessary for a person to leave a legacy.

Even if you do not have nieces and nephews, or cousins with children to pass this research on to, someone else out there might still find it fascinating.  If you are passionate, no endeavor is worthless.



Copyright (c) 2012 Wendy L. Callahan