The Ties That Bind Us...
If you've never asked any of your relatives about family history before, now is the time to do it. Seriously. Put down whatever you are doing and go ask questions.
You'll never know unless you ask.
I've discovered awesome stuff about Bimmer Man's relatives - his grandfather used to deliver groceries to Al Capone's mom in Chicago. His grandfather also did mapping in northern Africa during WWII (where he threw a gun out of a train window because he wasn't supposed to have it). These things I never would have known had I not asked.
I have interesting family stories too (my niece worked in an ER in Botswana, my dad worked on a Gemini series rocket ship). It's strange the things you learn about your family members but it's also so interesting to know and to be able to tell your children - not everything has to be about what people do for a job. There are recipes to be passed down (as in Minnesota sloppy joes that only mothers seem to know...), family secrets that you don't want anyone to know, and weird facts that you know other people would find interesting.
Family history is so important to know. It's important to know your heritage and to whom you are connected. I feel it makes you more connected to the Earth and to your family. It also makes you realize that there are millions of people here on Earth before us, it doesn't stop spinning just because one person died. The sun will come up tomorrow, with or without you and the only things that are left of each us are memories that people have. A bit morbid to think about, right?
What I love about family history is also finding something that a family member created or made. I've known for awhile that a great-aunt was a children's book author but I hadn't really done much about it - I wanted to buy her books but I've never really had a good reason to, I guess. I mean, before having a child the book would have just sat in the bookcase, unread and unloved. Now, The Monkey gets to read a piece of her family history.
I think it's pretty awesome, so I just had to share!