The word Genealogy is derived from the Greek word Genea meaning race, family.

Specifically it refers to the study of Family History and line of descent. Genealogies, recorded accounts of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor, are also referred to as family trees or pedigrees.

Mormon Family HistoryThe basic intent of genealogical research is to identify your ancestors and establish where they belong in your family tree. Genealogy becomes Family History research as you begin to learn about and record the lives and doings of these ancestors.

An ancestor is a person from whom you are directly descended such as your grandmother, great grandmother and so on.

A collateral ancestor refers to an ancestor from whom you don’t directly descend, but that are still in your ancestral family such as a great aunt.

Now you know exactly what genealogy is, but are you still wondering why you should get started on it?

Mormons have a clear motivation for doing Genealogy based on their belief of the eternal nature of families.

Other motivations for doing genealogy might include:

  • To preserve family, cultural or ethnic traditions
  • To learn about your family medical history and what to possibly expect in the way of inherited disease.
  • To satisfy basic curiosity about where your family came from
  • To qualify for a lineage society
  • To publish a family history book either for your family, for profit or both.

Once you begin, it’s near impossible to stop it’s so exciting and addicting. The promise of Elijah truly is coming to pass:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. – Malachi 4:5&6

In what parts of the world did my ancestors live? What did they look like? Where did I get my red hair? Who are those people in the family album?

How long will we let these questions go unanswered? The more generations that grow and live and die without answering them, the harder the answers will be to find when someone comes along and decides the answers are important enough to go searching for. Perhaps we can make it a little easier for our children and grand children and great grand children to someday know who we were, how we lived and who we loved.

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