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To not understand why some people want to get into contact with long lost distant relatives or research long dead decendants?

(101 Posts)
misspontypine Sun 20-Oct-13 20:06:40

I am watching some Sunday evening crap tv. The program is about people from the USA coming to Sweden and learning more about their Swedish roots. Most of the people on the show have one Swedish great grandparent or grandparent (a couple only have a Swedish great great grandparent) so they are 1/16 1/8 or 1/4 Swedish.

They research their Swedish decendent and find people who also have the same decendent and meet up with lots of tears and hugs (the Swedish long lost relative often looks pretty shocked and confused about the outpooring of emotions from someone they don't know and only share a great great grandparent with.)

I have an aunt who spends her spare time researching our family tree but ironically I have only ever met this aunt once, I am her living breathing neice and she is more interested in finding out which church her great great grandparents were married in.

I have adopted siblings and my opinion is that labels (grandma, sister, uncle) don't actually mean anything it is the time you spend together and the love you give each other that is important.

AIBU to think it is odd that some people think that a tiny amount of shared DNA with another person (living or dead) means that that person is worth researching and possible traveling far to meet?

RevelsRoulette Sun 20-Oct-13 20:13:29

Some people are just really interested in family history and their ancestors.

There's a mystery in my family re my great grandfather who stole other people's identities, gave a fake name on his marriage certificate and who abandoned my great grandma and bigamously married some woman in canada. I'd love to know how that panned out. Find out who he actually was (nobody knows) and if he stayed with that woman or did the same to her, etc.

Many people are curious about history.

I don't give a shit about shared dna but I don't like an unfinished story grin

Mogz Sun 20-Oct-13 20:16:31

Different horses for different courses.
I don't understand how you could watch crap Sunday tv wink or why some people are in to extreme ironing but I'm bloody glad they are otherwise life would be super boring.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 20-Oct-13 20:17:38

2 separate issues -1. People who care more about the dead than the living always in the wrong

2. People research their family history for many reasons. It gives us a sense of who we are. I've not done mine but I know 2 things about mine that are incredibly interesting and one explains a genetic condition I have.

And my dh was illegitimate royalty 500 years ago! How cool is that?

magicstars Sun 20-Oct-13 20:20:24

I think it has a lot to do with identity and a feeling of belonging. I agree it might be a bit far fetched to get all emotional over meeting a distant relative, perhaps not though if they don't have close family.

LunaticFringe Sun 20-Oct-13 20:20:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 20-Oct-13 20:22:04

If others want to then it's up to them.

I have zero interest though and if some unknown long lost relative approached me i wouldn't want to meet up tbh. I have a large extended family as it is (my parents are each one of 6), and I have twenty or thirty first cousins plus their kids. I don't keep in touch with all of them ( spread far and wide and have been all my life. There are family fallings out but not involving me), why would I bother with someone from several generations removed?

SirChenjin Sun 20-Oct-13 20:22:06

I did mine - traced back the women on my Mum's side to a couple of hundred years ago. I found it fascinating - wondering who these women were, were they happy, what were their dreams and aspirations. An Uncle on DH's side was contacted by long lost family - turns out a Great Aunt had left her DH and her DCs shortly after WW2 and emigrated to the US. She married there and had another family - who discovered their half siblings through tracing their family tree.

YABU - but to be honest I couldn't really give two hoots if you think IABU

Hulababy Sun 20-Oct-13 20:22:21

I find Family History very interesting. I like finding out where I cam from, in the long distant past - what members of me past family did for a living, where they came from, the names they used - the social history side I find fascinating.

But then I find what some other people enjoy pointless or boring. Why would anyone want to follow a bunch of sweaty blokes around the country kicking a ball around, people they have never met or likely to and probably having nothing in common with. But many people do it following sports teams.

My interest in family history is completely separate to my interest in my present family - who I do have a good relationship with, some more than others obviously, especially when you have a big family.

TrueStory Sun 20-Oct-13 20:25:27

I had a friend that did this. I didn't mind or care that she did it. Its just that she reported it to me, endlessly, which I found incredibly puzzling and boring too .... hmm

Heartbrokenmum73 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:26:47

My DM has a half-sister somewhere (if she's still alive). My GM had an illegitimate child in the 40s (ooh, the scandal), who was adopted, and I asked DM if she's ever thought about trying to track her down (DM's an only child otherwise).

DM said she has thought about it but what if they met and had nothing in common or didn't like each other? She said she'd rather leave it well alone.

I wonder about her though. Only have one Uncle, by marriage, and wonder about my 'Aunt' sometimes.

misspontypine Sun 20-Oct-13 20:27:02

It's really interesting to hear why some of you have researched your families. I hadn't thought about the genetic illness issues.

carlajean Sun 20-Oct-13 20:27:06

Yanbu, I just think it's a marmite thing. I find doing genealogical research endlessly fascinating, but, if that's not you're thing, can see that it might seem odd. But I also think that goes for ALL hobbies

Hassled Sun 20-Oct-13 20:28:48

I don't know if this is standard, but I became far more interested in my family tree etc once I'd lost both my parents. You feel sort of rootless when that happens, or at least I did - and that rootlessness is certainly what has driven me to know more about my ancestors. Both parents were only children, so no cousins etc. And yes, now that tiny amount of shared DNA does matter.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 20-Oct-13 20:29:18

I am interested in history; I read history at university. It follows that I would be interested in family history. Also the vast majority of us Americans descend from people who took a huge leap of faith and traveled far away from all they knew and loved to begin again in the new world. Their stories are interesting, even inspiring, and those of us who do genealogical research appreciate and value our ties to the nations and cultures we descend from.

Hulababy Sun 20-Oct-13 20:31:05

I have no real reason, just general interest. PILs had an Ancestry subscription so thought Id have a look. I found it is one of those things that once you start delving you can get a bit addicted to it. Some days I have found myself researching for hours on end. Can become quite costly too when you need certificates to try and prove stuff.

Shesparkles Sun 20-Oct-13 20:31:13

I started looking into my family last year and found it fascinating, especially when I found some photographs of people from about a hundred years ago and it was like looking at photos of my dad and son.
I've always enjoyed social history, so I suppose it might be an extension of that

FannyMcNally Sun 20-Oct-13 20:31:49

Lol at long dead descendants!wink

Caitlin17 Sun 20-Oct-13 20:33:51

YANBU. I feel exactly the same way.

Trills Sun 20-Oct-13 20:34:03

I came on to say exactly that Fanny just said grin

MomentForLife Sun 20-Oct-13 20:39:47

I suppose some people just find it interesting. My Dad and Sister do it,but don't tell me that much because they know I'm not interested.

buttermellow Sun 20-Oct-13 20:47:50

I love it - I didn't know much at all about my family prior to research and have a list now of 2000 people, all of whom are some way linked to me. Its quite comforting in a way, if I'm alone or upset I imagine those 2000 people all stood alongside me lol.

I also felt that these people had worked incredibly hard, lived fascinating lives and deserved to still be thought of many years on.

EBearhug Sun 20-Oct-13 21:23:12

I was brought up with tales of my family, some of them talked about as if they were still around, rather than died 100 years ago. I don't remember not knowing about my family, at least on my father's side. My grandfather traced some more.

I have inherited a lot of the papers and photos, which is a great privilege in some ways, and a burden and space-filler in others (it sometimes seems that no Bearhugs ever threw out any bit of paper ever, and while shopping lists from the 1860s are now interesting, it does take up a lot of space.

I have a history degree anyway, which is probably partly because of how we were brought up with tales of the family, or possibly I'm interested in the family stuff because I am interested in history. Don't know, probably a bit of both. Actually, I haven't done much research myself, as a lot was already done, and some of the Victorian ones were sufficiently well-known that I can google them.

There are days where I wish I was descended from illiterate bastard peasants.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 21:35:23

YABU if you think that something you find boring would be uninteresting for other people. We're all interested in different things, this is no different to someone being interested in knitting or not.

I have encountered a disproportionate number of Americans who seem obsessed with their ancestors though. No idea what that's about.

justmyview Sun 20-Oct-13 21:39:55

My DH got very interested in family history after our DD was born.

Once he'd exhausted our own families, he started researching the history of the people who previously lived in this house............ and then the histories of all the people who previously lived in the other houses in our street ............yes it's totally a bit obsessive, but it's a harmless hobby, so YABU

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