Genealogy takes a lot of time but because it’s rewarding, it’s a popular pastime. No one wants to spin their wheels though, and believe me, I’ve done a lot of that. Over the years, I’ve grown to realize how important it is to study the area that our ancestors called home. That may sound like a given, but it’s easy to overlook territories our families passed through or settled in.
Because today, so many people have dug into their family trees, there’s a strong likelihood that others looking for the same ancestors have done the work for us. But there’s always more to learn and knowing the history of the region they came from will enrich your genealogical experience. It can be especially enriching if you don’t know who your ancestors were but only where they came from. Take for example, Native American ancestry. Do you know through oral history that great-grandma was a Shawnee but you have no idea what her name was? Study the history and traditions of the Shawnee. Find something similar about the culture that may have been handed down through the generations. I like to believe that if we listen carefully, our ancestors will hear our calling and we will feel their spirit. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:
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