History vs. Genealogy – And The Winner Is…

Family HistoryOver the past few days I have been following several threads on some Genealogy Group pages on Facebook. I am a member of several of them, both on my Authors page and my personal page. Most of them have been very helpful over the last couple of years and I have made a lot of great friends and connections this way. However, lately things have turned quite…ummm…should I say, ugly in some of these groups. People are calling names, belittling each other, harassing others, reporting one another and in some cases having to quit groups over this topic.

The cause of all this trouble is the question of whether the subject of History should be discussed or posted on Genealogy sites. There are those who believe that History has nothing to do with Genealogy (I will wait patiently while you finish laughing) and that posting anything to do with it is a waste of time and space. They see no merit in including History in their Genealogy research.

The definition of History is this:

  1. what has happened: the past events of a period in time or in the life or development of a people, an institution, or a place
  2. study of past events: the branch of knowledge that records and analyzes past events
  3. record of events: a chronological account of past events of a period or in the life or development of a people, an institution, or a place     (Merriam-Webster)

So by definition everything we do regarding Genealogy would be considered History. We search for and record our Ancestors names, date of birth, marriage and death…history. We write the Family stories…history. We chronicle the migration of our Ancestors from one place to another…history. It doesn’t matter if the event happened yesterday or 1000 years ago it is now history.

What can be done about all this fighting? To be honest, you probably can’t do much. People who feel this way seem to be stuck in this belief and it will be hard to sway them to think otherwise. You can, however, educate the others in these groups, including the administrators, about the definition of History and show how it IS an inseparable part of Genealogy. Maybe you can challenge people to eliminate anything having to do with History from their Family Trees and see what is left?

Regardless of what others may say or believe, I am declaring this fight a tie – History + Genealogy = Your Family Tree.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.




Filed under Ancestry, Facebook, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, How-to

9 responses to “History vs. Genealogy – And The Winner Is…

  1. Well said Valerie, I agree whole-heartedly! History + Genealogy = My Family Tree and that’s how it should be!
    Also I’m glad you’re doing well and back to posting! 🙂

  2. Hi Valerie
    I don’t really use groups on Facebook for this – just pages for specific areas I’m interested in. Can you recommend any good ones? I’m researching in the UK – where are you? Cheers.
    Best wishes

  3. For Jewish genealogy, Tracing the Tribe – Jewish Genealogy on Facebook has more than 4,100 very active members who delight in assisting those with queries, doing translations of Jewish gravestones and for records in other languages. Come join us: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20364215746/

  4. Dear Lord, how can you have one without the other?! My parents are doing their family trees and the way the families interact with social history is their favourite part!

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