The discipline of family history involves genealogy,
tracing your ancestors to establish lineage, and a study
of family heritage, the successive inheritance of traditions,
knowledge and heirlooms, such as family shields,
crests and coats of arms.
Historical Significance and Today’s Relevance
The importance of family history is rooted in medieval times. For the nobility,
tracing one’s lineage to prove kinship bonds was of practical importance.
Establishing irrefutable ties to ancestors of high rank and status was imperative for
claiming rights to property and garnishing acceptance from the social elite.
History is rife with instances of illegitimate children born to royal parents leading to
succession problems and bloodshed. For the unprivileged, family history
was a source of shame, a past to be buried. Today, family history is a source
of pride and cognizance of the significance of family and ancestral bonds.
Family history research is one of the most widespread past times in the world today,
and only continues to surge in popularity. This is because knowing your family history
and family heritage connects you to your kin group and a period in history;
knowing your family history helps you understand who you are and where you came from.
Family history research often begins with the creation of a family tree,
a genealogical map illustrating kinship ties and ancestral roots.
This often relies on an investigation into surnames or family names, which can have several different origins.
Originally, one’s family name often derived from the first name of one’s father,
or stemmed from an ancestor’s occupation or place of residence.
It also involves a study of family heraldry and thus family symbols.
Commemorate Your Ancestors
Family history can be celebrated in a variety of ways,
including but not limited to the study of and adornment with family crests,
shields and coats of arms; the creation of your family tree; or knowledge of your family’s maxim.
Family history can tell you where your ancestors came from,
how they got where they are and the source of family traditions.
By unearthing your family history and preserving your family heritage,
you establish a connection to the past, inform your present and mold your future.
There is no more concrete connection to your family history and traditions than through heraldic family symbols.
A Coat of Arms is sometimes also called a Family Shield, Family Seal or Family Crest.
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