This week I found myself down at Olympia at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event. Hundreds of people, over a three day event wander the aisles searching for clues to answer the question 'Where did I come from?' whilst various companies flog their wares. Watching I wondered how important it was for people to know where they came from or was it just an interesting hobby.
I am fortunate that on my Fathers side at least there has been a very good family tree produced, which dates the family back for several hundred years. Even my Mothers side I have a good idea of where they came from. I suspect I've always just taken the knowledge of my family history for granted, forgetting that others have no knowledge other than their immediate families names.
If I stopped taking it for granted, would I hold it as important knowledge to have? Stories of the family member who met his maker, having rolled into the river drunk at lunch time or the unmarried 'seamstress' with seven children in an area known for its bars and brothels, are of course interesting. They provide a snapshot of social history that I am personally connected to, that capture my attention far more than the facts and figures in some books.