“You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.” – Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
Are you interested in tracing your ancestral heritage? If why? Are you perhaps curious to determine whether and how your forefathers have affected your culture, ethnicity, and lifestyle? Are you maybe interested in obtaining the right of residence in the country of your ancestors? Or are you purely interested in your heritage purely from a historical perspective?
These questions are valid and deserve considered answers. Therefore, let’s answer these questions by examining the reasons why you should trace your family history or ancestry using DNA ancestry tests conducted by a research institute like CRI Genetics.
1. The things we carry
Have you wondered what character traits you have inherited from your ancestors?
Physical and mental health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, depression, ADHD, and Autism are transferred down through the genetic lines. You might even battle with recurring nightmares that are, according to Dale M. Kushner, “are not the result of your own lived experience but are instead manifestations of hidden or unspoken traumas bequeathed from past generations.”
In the article titled “The Things We Carry: What Our Ancestors Didn’t Tell Us,” Kushner describes how behavioral epigenetics reveals how traumas and other character traits can come down through the genetic lines. The quotation mentioned above echoes this sentiment. The author Toba Beta highlights the fact that you are a fairy tale of your ancestors.
2. An emotional tie to the country of our ancestors
Many people living in what was known as the New World, or countries such as Canada and the USA, are either from European or African origin. The original colonial settlers to the USA came from European countries like France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and England. Juxtapositionally, most African Americans have their roots in the African slave trade.
PBS.org highlights the journey that many African Americans took to get to the Americas. The website notes that “in the 360 years between 1500 and the end of the slave trade in the 1860s, at least 12 million Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas – then known as the “New World” to European settlers.”
European settlers came to the USA to “increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs.” The Spanish were among the first Europeans to settle in the modern-day USA. The English were second to arrive and establish a dominant presence on the east coast of the USA. Many of the settlers to the New World left their home countries to escape religious persecution
Therefore, it is reasonable for both white and African Americans living in the USA today want to trace their heritage to understand their origins. They have an emotional tie to either African or Europe. Not being able to pinpoint your ancestry can get extremely frustrating, which drives many people to discover their ancestral history.
As an aside, it is worth noting that an amateur opinion is that tracing your ancestors is built into the human race. Human beings long for a sense of belonging, attachment, and connection to other people.
3. Gives a strong sense of belonging
“Knowing, recording, and preserving your family history directly impacts you, your family, and even future generations.”
In her article titled “Why We Need Family History Now More Than Ever,” Rachel Coleman notes that knowing where we came from can help develop a strong sense of who you are. The way you relate to family stories and create your own narrative helps give you a strong sense of belonging. You are part of a family, tribe, and broader community, irrespective of where your family members are located across the globe.
4. Helps you make good health choices
By knowing what physical and mental health conditions are passed down through your family’s genetic lines, you will be able to make exemplary health choices.
For instance, if you know that diabetes II runs through your family, you will understand the need to cut out sugar, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly long before developing diabetes yourself.
Mental health conditions are also passed down the genetic lines. An excellent example of this is Asperger Syndrome, part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). And while its cause is not fully understood, there is a strong genetic basis. In other words, it runs in families. The benefit of knowing if there is any history of Asperger’s in your family lines is to help understand family members, especially children, who behave “oddly.”
As this article by the rarediseases.info.nih.gov notes, “children and adults with Asperger syndrome are at an increased risk for depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood and anxiety disorders, and other mental health disorders.”
5. Helps increase your resilience
It is easy to forget that life was hard during your ancestors’ lifetime and to bemoan your circumstances, especially circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current global recession is almost as bad as the 1930s Great Depression. The good news is that your family got through the Great Depression, and in the same way, you will get through the COVID-19 pandemic.