Health + Fitness

Genealogy and Your Health

Finding out about your family history via a genealogy problem isn’t just intriguing and fun; it can also be critical to your health. Even if you think you have a firm grasp on the health details of your family tree, there can still be information lurking there you know nothing about.

For example, you might find that a portion of your ancestry may have Native American roots, which can be unearthed in the Dawes Rolls. If you discover that some of your ancestors had a tendency to develop Type-2 diabetes, that can give you fair warning to keep on top of your own blood sugar levels.

Sometimes diseases and chronic ailments are dormant for generations, but your particular habits or lifestyle happen to switch them on. Understanding the patterns of your family’s health gives you the upper hand in managing your own.

Of course genealogy is a great hobby to pursue, but you shouldn’t underestimate what a great health tool it can be.

Family history for stress management

Beyond informing you which diseases you might be vulnerable to, genealogy is also a great stress management tool. Sure, it’ll have you spending long hours in front of a computer screen to do your research these days, but it’s kind of meditative in practice.

All the research, the highs of discovery, and the critical thinking skills can take your mind off mundane daily tasks. Investigating your family history may be one of the best stress management tools around.

Think about the last time you were so caught up in a book you couldn’t put it down. Now imagine that book is about your life and history, but not all the pages are included and neatly bound together.

You’re embarking on an adventure, and you’ll reap tangible rewards for your effort. You can share your family history with other family members and loved ones as you make discoveries.

Genealogy today

There was a time when the only resource historians had were old, faded public documents. But today’s technology makes it much easier for the average person to track his or her family history.

This often means a lot less frustration and more accurate findings. If you want to see what illnesses, if any, plagued your ancestors so you can keep a handle on your own health, start with genealogy.

If you want a hobby that’s rewarding and regularly turns up something new, this is also a great activity. Knowing where you come from is a big step toward knowing where you’re going, so make the most of it.

Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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