Valuable Lessons We Can Learn From Our Ancestors

Old Family Picture

One of the great blessings of genealogy is that we can learn many valuable lessons from our ancestors. When I genealogy, I have been amazed at how much I have learned from my ancestors that I never knew.

Some of the valuable lessons that we can learn from our ancestors include perseverance, love, and sacrifice. We discover that families are not perfect, and we can learn from our ancestors about ourselves. These are some reasons why studying about your ancestors and learning about them will help you discover who you are and give you a fresh perspective on life and living.


The other day I was working on some of my German genealogy on my father’s side; I was working on some of my indirect lines and not my direct line.

I discovered some family lines where the parents had over 12 children, but I could not find any that reached adulthood. In some years, the parents would be burying two children. Many of the children only lasted a few days; others lasted years but died before five years old.

I often think of these two parents who lived in 1850s Germany and how difficult it must have been for them to lose so many children. Each time a new child came, I imagine that they must have prayed and hoped that child would survive to adulthood.

I imagine each time a child died, their faith was also tested. They undoubtedly wondered why this was happening to them or why others had children that survived, but they did not.

Their story touched me, and I thought of the pain, sorrow, and just the perseverance that these parents would have needed not to allow their lives to be swallowed up by pain and grief.

Perseverance is one of the things that I learn when I am doing my genealogy. I know about enduring in life as I discover the lives of my ancestors. So many of them had to go through so many difficult trials, yet they preserved through life.

Love and Sacrifice

We can also learn about love as we learn and discover our ancestors’ lives. We know of the young father whose wife passed away when his children were young, and he found love again and remarried and had several children with his new wife.

We see couples who got married at a very young age but stayed married through many years and had many children together. A learn of fathers and mothers who were present at their own children’s weddings or for their grandchildren’s christening and baptisms.

Throughout all this, we learn about love. We learned that love is one of those universal traits that has been on the earth since the beginning of time. Men and women, families, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, grandparents, uncles, and aunts love one another.

The work of family history and genealogy is a work of love. We learn to love and appreciate those who can not be there. We can remember them and honor them for their sacrifice and perseverance.

As we read their stories, we also learned that love and sacrifice go hand-in-hand. When we love someone, we will sacrifice for them. That sacrifice is a part of love. The parents offer and spend hours on a farm so that they can feed their children.

The sibling may sacrifice so that one sibling can go to college—the grandparents sacrifice their time and take care of their grandchildren. We learn about love and sacrifice from our ancestors.

Families Are Not Perfect

When they say that everyone’s family has skeletons in the closet, this is very true. As you research your family history, you may also discover some disturbing things. Children born out of wedlock, someone who left their family behind to find another family somewhere else, or you may even find your had relatives who were in prison.

All of these discoveries help to show us that families are not perfect. People are not perfect. People make mistakes, and sometimes they pay high prices for those mistakes. As we research our ancestors, we begin to have compassion and love for them. We understand that just like us – they were human.

Our ancestors may have lived in a different place or time. They may have even spoken another language. But they were like us, trying to get on in life and do the best they could.

Learn Who We Are

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons that we can learn from our ancestors is who we are. We begin to gain a greater identity of who we are as we study about them and their lives.

We may look back and find that we have something more in common with a great-grandmother than what we once thought. We can begin to learn about their lives, and as we do so, we discover things about ourselves that we did not know.

I have found that as I have done my genealogy research and explored the history of the lives of my ancestors, I have discovered things about myself I did not know. This is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you learn from genealogy or family history research – it will help you discover who you are.

Learning about your ancestors helps you discover who you are and gives you valuable lessons about life and living. As you begin to study your ancestors and their lives, it will give you a new perspective about your own life. Maybe the trials you are experiencing are not quite as hard as your ancestors’ trials.

The Hummel Family is a website all about Family History research. Our Focus is on Swedish, German, English, Scottish, and American Genealogy. We also talk a lot about Asia and China as we had ancestors who spent many years in China.

You are welcome to join us and become part of our community by signing up for our FREE newsletter, The Hummel Family; sign up by clicking here.

8 Tips to Help You Discover Your Family History

Finding your family history is relatively easy if you follow eight essential tips as 1) get yourself organized, 2) start with your immediate family, 3) talk to your oldest living relative, 4) consult a Family History expert, 5) put your family tree online, 6) check online sources, 7) get an Ancestry DNA test and the 8) join family history groups on social media. Discovering your family history can help you discover a lot about yourself and your own family; it is a journey of discovery that is both fun and exciting.

You can learn more by reading 8 Tips to Help You Discover Your Family History by clicking here.

What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?

The purpose of genealogy is to study family, family history and trace our lineage or ancestors. The purpose of genealogy goes far beyond the dates, names, and places of our ancestors. This is because as you do your genealogy, you begin to learn more about your family and yourself.  Genealogy helps unite and link families together by discovering things that you did not know about your family.

By clicking here, you can learn more about Genealogy by reading our blog What Is The Purpose of Genealogy?.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I live in Hanoi, Vietnam. I love to share with you about my family history and the many parts of the world our ancestors have lived.

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Valuable Lessons We Can Learn From Our Ancestors