Who Are You Really?

Who are you

At some point, we have all looked at ourselves and thought “why do I do the things I do?” or “what makes me, me?” We question why we have certain quirks or we are drawn to certain hobbies.  What influences us?  Why are we the way we are? Lots of times, the answer is a simple one. Genetics.

Looking to the Family

Sitting down with a grandparent, or great-grandparent if you are lucky to have one, and asking questions, is a great way to find out more about your family. Unless you are Native American, everyone in the USA comes from an immigrant family. There is a lot to ask about with how your family came here and what sorts of traditions they brought with them.

family tree graphic pixy

Research is Your Friend

If Grandma inspired you to really research, or if you are adopted with limited information, now is the time to embrace genealogy. The simplest way to begin is to trace family history in newspaper archives. By learning about births, marriages, deaths, and even passenger lists from immigrant ships, you can create a timeline that shows you what your family history is. A fair warning, this can get quite addicting. Once you trace one branch of family back to the original country you will want to continue researching and learning more about what people were doing.

Read Up on Local Traditions and Lore

Have you ever wondered why you do certain traditions? Or found yourself wondering why you feel a need to do something very specific? Often, we can find those answers by reading up on traditions and stories that were passed down in our countries of origin. When I was younger, I often noticed that my father, his sisters, his father, and myself were incredibly logical people. We also had a thing for orderly lines and if things felt chaotic we became uncomfortable.

My father’s family is primarily German and Ukrainian. As I spent some time reading up on German attitudes from those visiting Germany, who were often not German, the two things that stood out most to me was that Germans love order and tend to think with their brains rather than their heart. It was a light bulb moment and I suddenly understood, this is why I am that way. It also lent itself to emotions of feeling kindredship for people I haven’t even met yet.

generations pixy

Why Bother?

For many people, researching family history can be a practical one. We look to family history, especially for health concerns. Often as we sit in a doctor’s office, we are asked about family history. If we don’t know that history, because  our family didn’t want to talk about it or we have been adopted, this can cause us to not know vital information that could save our lives. We need to know about heart issues, breast cancer,  or a genetic defect that could cause life long disabilities. Sometimes all we have are death certificates to let us know if there is a trend in the family.

On my mother’s side, there is a trend for small veins and arteries. Most death certificates from her blood line mention heart failure as a cause of death. We only learned about the small veins and arteries a mere 50 years ago, and can trace it through the family all the way to myself. I am now empowered with this information so that I can take better care of myself than my predecessors.

Take away the need for medical history and we still need to know about our families. We need to know where we come from and all the quirks that show up in the family dynamics.  It can  make us feel complete. We have a stronger sense of who we are and why we love the traditions we have had all our lives. We want to work harder and do better, and make our ancestors proud.



Images via pixabay.

You may also like...