Some say that genealogy is America’s second-most popular hobby and some say it’s the first. And, as stated by University of Michigan anthropologist Beverly Strassmann, it’s a hobby that started with the hunter-gathers of the Neolithic Period about 11,500 years ago around the same time that the transition to the agriculture society was taking place. I wrote about the agriculture society in my blog post about Scottish mtDNA: Scotland’s DNA: The ancestors of Scottish women have been around longer than Scottish men.
Even in a world where lineage no longer determines our fate, in fact we now take pride in humble hard-working roots. Not so long ago genealogy was a way for the elite to justify their status at the top of the social pyramid.
This might give us pause to wonder, why so many of us care about distant relatives who died so long ago. I’ve said it before and will probably mention it again, a connection to ones past does make a difference. We care about those who came before because we share their genes. It’s all about a sense of connectedness.
The world that has grown more crowded and certainly more anonymous, it’s thought that tracing ancestry allows people to feel more connected to one another. In a society of hundreds of millions strangers, it’s pretty cool to discover that you are a fourth and even eight cousin of someone.
Click on Why We Care About Our Ancestry to read the article published in Life Science magazine is an interesting read with some great links to articles that give a different perspective and helps pull it all together.