The Strange, But Surprisingly Familiar Lives of our Great-Great-Grandparents

4 reasons why connecting with the past matters.

Moses and Alma Spencer; Source:

Why are we so fascinated?

So why are we so fascinated with the stories of those who have gone before us? Perhaps there’s an element of amazement and surprise. It’s a bit mind-boggling to consider someone having 200-year roots in Connecticut and then packing up and moving to Illinois. Or to think of someone leaving behind family and friends forever to go live in New Zealand. Or to leave West, join a new religion, and start a new way of family life.

1. Find Out Who You Are

What does the life of my great-great-great-grandpa have to do with me?

2. Find Out How You Connect to Others

I always enjoy making a family connection with other people. I was delighted a while back when I got into a discussion with a co-worker about our family histories. I had found his last name connected with some individuals in my genealogical past. We traced our ancestry back using some online software and ultimately figured out we were distant cousins.

3. Practice Empathy

We love the stories about our noble ancestors and their heroic accomplishments. We recite the highlights of a well-lived life and the struggles that ultimately overcame opposition.

4. Put Life in Perspective

I love the 2021 Superbowl commercial from Huggies. It starts out reminding us that everyone begins life as a baby — even the crotchety old man who seems like he was never young.

What’s Next?

Connecting with the past can tremendously enhance our spiritual and emotional well-being.

PhD Chemist, father of six kids, and local bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.