While not everyone enjoyed history in school, many residents of Santa Monica and elsewhere seem interested in learning more about their own families, either by themselves or with the assistance of a caregiver.
True, “helping with ancestry stuff” may seem beyond the basic job description of most caregivers, but it can actually turn into a fun hobby and positive way for people to spend time together.
While we don’t necessarily hire people at Accredited Home Care because of their genealogical knowledge and experience, or even ask them about it during the interview process, having these interests may end up being a great match for a client.
Or in some cases, they may not even know they’re interested in these kinds of skills until they actually sit down with a client who wants to begin or needs to continue their own research. Then, this may even spur their own passion for the activity and get them eager to look into their own family past or bring their experience to help future clients.
After all, genealogical research is becoming quite a popular topic. Ancestry.com, which helps people with their own research and also provides genetic testing, said it’s now the second most popular hobby in America.
FamilyTree, another ancestry and genealogy resource, shares similar information about the strong interest in genealogy but also tells us that the most popular hobby is gardening.
Why it’s useful
This is the perfect time of the year to learn more about your family origins. People often get together for various holidays, depending on their culture and faith. It’s a time to share stories from the past, whether it was gatherings in the past few years or favorite family stories from generations ago.
Or, even if your particular family group isn’t able to come together or you don’t have a lot of contact with or even information about immediate or extended kinfolk, it’s still a useful opportunity to dig back into the past to learn more about everyone’s origins.
Some people even compare the hobby to a solving a mystery, seeing how far back they can go in search of birth and death dates, family lines, census information and other “clues” potentially sprinkled around the world.
December 23 is considered National Roots Day, which is an occasion when many people who like ancestry research encourage others to join in the fun of learning more about their family heritage. Various ancestry providers also invite people to access their services especially those who haven’t looked for their family history before or may have in the past but put the project on time.
A big part of why there’s abundant interest in genealogy, especially for those receiving home health care services, is because there’s so much more information available online.
Many people have been interested in genealogy for years, but learning information more than a few generations back often required a lot of travel to various counties, museums or archives.
These research trips sometimes included looking through dusty old books or microfiche to find just the right public record. Or, people who couldn’t do this sometimes wrote letters to possible family members seeking information and hoped they wrote back.
Doing this kind of research in the past could be complex, require a lot of travel and cost as well, and accurate answers were sometimes difficult to come by.
Today, all sorts of databases, census records, and other public vital records have been digitized, making it considerably easier for people to look up specific people online or connect with other distant family members who may be performing their own research independently.
It’s now easy to send questions to public officials, record custodians, archivists, librarians or various county clerks who may be able to guide you further in your journey. After all, many of the people in these positions or careers do so in order to assist others in their research.
This kind of investigation can be an especially useful activity to someone who is eager to learn and explore but may not be able to get out much or for very long. They can keep track of various family members by writing everything down or on their computers.
Or if they have a hard time using a computer but are still eager to learn, a caregiver can assist with some of the typing and search queries while the client suggests direction.
This type of research can even be a fun activity to discuss: family members or friends can be updated on progress every time they visit. Making some unexpected connections or learning more about another family line can even be something fun to announce at a family gathering.
Or, someone’s research notes and files can also be easily passed on to other trusted family members to conduct further research. While not necessarily a formal part of someone’s estate, this information can be priceless to the family member selected to receive it and continue the efforts.
Overall, just about all of us seem interested in where our family came from, and Accredited Home Care is happy to look for ways to encourage clients to seek those answers.