Everyone loves a mystery, and family history is a good kind of mystery that indeed keeps many people on the hook for a long while, especially seniors.
In recent years, genealogy or tracing the trail of the family bloodline has been all the rage among seniors. It allows them to look into the valuable past and life stories and feel tied to their ancestors more than ever despite the generational gap. This is also a wonderful experience for grandchildren to appreciate family traditions and express gratitude for their loved ones.
Let’s discover genealogy and the benefits of researching genealogy of family for seniors.
Genealogy of Family: A Favorite Pastime That Allows Seniors To Take a Deep Dive Into Family Heritage and Get To Know Their Ancestors
What Is Genealogy?
Genealogy is the practice of tracing one’s family origins and history. Such research provides insights into when and how ancestors lived through data gathered from various resources, including relatives and genealogical records, whether physical or digital. In a way, genealogy is described as a way for one to learn about themselves.
Some data variations involved in genealogical research include names, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, historical records, oral histories, school records, biographies, personal journals, court records, media records, letters, wills, occupations, genetic analysis, adoption records, and immigration records.
Genealogical research can result from different motives depending on each individual’s interests. For most people, genealogy satisfies the curiosity of their past generations. It unravels the untold stories of their ancestors and learning about descendants scattered across the country over decades. In these cases, genealogy helps the seeker demonstrate the pedigree of their past family members by building out a family tree.
Others find that digging into their family history with DNA testing helps identify possible health risks passed down from generation to generation, ensuring in-time interventions to avoid the worst outcomes. In some cases, genealogy is a valuable tool to support adoptees searching for long-lost family members.
Seniors and The Genealogy of Family: Understanding The Benefits
In recent years, genealogy has become a well-suited pastime many people enjoy. The following are the 6 benefits of looking back at the past with genealogy for seniors.
Gain A Deeper Sense of Identity
Although anyone can encounter an identity crisis in their lifetime, seniors are vulnerable to identity loss due to many things. Increased isolation, estranged familial relationships and friendships, and the lack of professional occupation can all erode seniors’ confidence, leaving them feeling lost and wondering so much about their existence years into retirement. Peeking into the family’s rich past and understanding where ancestors came from and what tribulations they have overcome with genealogy is a meaningful way for seniors to regain a more profound sense of personal identity and satisfaction.
Strengthen Family Connections
Researching genealogy is a meaningful way to bridge older generations with younger generations and strengthen family connections. Besides being a portal leading to past lives, it is a heart-warming experience for seniors, children, and grandchildren to keep up with family traditions, unearth groundbreaking life stories, recall beautiful memories, and reflect on harmful incidents. In a way, seniors can seize this opportunity to teach their grandchildren about their ancestors’ sacrifices so they can have a good life today.
Provide A Sense of Purpose
Retirement may be an ideal time to pursue leisure activities. However, too much leisure without a greater purpose can cause problems. Lacking a greater purpose and just filling time with entertainment and leisure can quickly become dull. In addition, this lifestyle can trigger many health conditions that sabotage seniors’ life quality, such as depression. Diving deeper into family stories and mysteries can help seniors better understand their history and their place in the greater story of their family, which can provide them with a sense of purpose to continue to fulfill the family destiny or to take it in a new direction if that’s needed. This renewed sense of purpose may prompt them to make their days count and invest their time more wisely in stimulating activities.
Provide Mental Stimulation
In the past, doing the genealogy of family was a challenging experience as you had to venture out to gather records. In modern times, the research process has been simplified. It makes a mentally stimulating pastime for seniors, especially when they have limited mobility. Seniors can now access all the information they need by browsing the Internet from the comfort of their homes. Diving into a family’s past is like putting a puzzle together. It helps seniors acquire new life skills, sharpen their mental acuity, and improve cognitive functions by clicking the mouse or tapping the screen. Several studies have pointed out that recalling memories and searching for information can benefit seniors’ heart health and blood pressure as well.
Develop A Deeper Appreciation of History
Although the concept of history can be somewhat dull or dry, seniors can take a personal interest in the genealogy of family history to sympathize and connect with their ancestors on a deeper level. In addition to supporting seniors’ journey of searching for their life meaning, it is a way to show gratitude for life-long traditions and celebrate family heritage by preserving memories or cooking recipes passed down through generations.
Reconnect With Distant Relatives
Sometimes, family members can grow apart. The older the seniors get, it is common to withdraw from the outside world and close relatives. Cultivating stronger relationships and connections in old age ensures a robust aging journey. It helps seniors promote healthier habits, foster a stable state of mind, combat age-related illnesses, and stave off depressive symptoms. Unearthing intergenerational stories and building a pedigree tree allow seniors to trace back to their roots and locate relatives they never knew existed. Such discoveries are the greatest way for seniors to form new relationships and learn more about people from the same bloodline.
Seniors Tracing Family Tree: Tips to Get Started
Here are some tips to make seniors’ genealogy of family research a rewarding experience.
- Start from scratch: Of course, tracing ancestors’ steps is an arduous task. That’s why it is advisable to start from scratch. Start by reviewing old photo albums, boxes of family memorabilia, letters, and records with your parents. You and your parents might find helpful items that give hints and clues for the next steps afterward.
- Recruit online resources: Today, numerous genealogy websites have been introduced to help people look into their past more easily. Ancestry, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage are some of the top genealogy websites if your parents are eager to find their family or learn extra details about their ancestors. These genealogy archives are a one-stop-shop that provides a large amount of data that simplifies your parents’ search, from offering birth certificates to suggesting people that might be related to them once they have entered their personal information. Other online research resources include the National Archives, The USGenWeb Project, and Chronicling America.
- Take a DNA test: Sometimes, taking a DNA test is the most straightforward way to find out your roots. The result will give a comprehensive picture of who your parents are at the core while providing extra information about their origins. Various levels of DNA testing allow your parents to conduct genealogical research at a large scale instead of only focusing on both sides of the family and physical pieces of evidence.
If you have questions about the genealogy of family or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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