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Why Genealogy?

In a very popular German TV paper there was an article about the ancestor fever. The search for their ancestors, for their roots and their branches of their family has seized many people like a drug. And the internet – today almost all genealogy is done via internet – has done a lot to boost this interest.

What is the motivation of many genealogists?

A priest assumes a deep longing for security: The extended family dissolved, many humans feel like having lost their roots. That’s why they want to get a new solidarity. The question who we are is always connected with the question the question where do I come from. Without identity I haven’t got an internal center from which I can organise my life.

An American woman has a very pragmatic look at the worl wide eagerness to get to know one′s ancestors: «That’s like baking cakes, I want to know what are the ingredients of the dough I’m made of?»

An anonymous genealogist tells us that he has researched for many years, but he didn’t district his efforts to his ancestors but was interested in the living relatives as well. (So it is with us, too.) When surfing in the internet he happended to meet a distant cousin of his in America. Their common interest in genealogy brougt them together and now they enrich their lives by exchanging ideas and by mutual visits. Whenever a Dehning crosses the Atlantic Ocean he has got the opportunity of seeing a relative. There are about 80 Dehning families in the States and 280 in Germany who will welcome a Dehning from beyond the Ocean.

Whenever you read about your ancestors you learn a lot about how they and their contemporaries lived in former times. History books concentrate on the good and evil deeds of leading men, but what were the lives of the simple humans like? What were their sorrows, pleasures and toils? When we learn about how they mastered their often very difficult lives, we gratefully realize how much easier life is today for most of us.

An elderly Dehning said: When you as an old man look at your parents and grandparents and think of them who lived before them and see your children, then you feel like a link in a long chain and you have the beautiful feeling to have passed the given life to the future. And seeing how your forefathers managed their often difficult lives, you are thankful that you could do that as well and hope that your descendants will go on leading a fulfilled life, too.