Take me right? I have ancestors I know nothing about. I was doing some research just now on Ancestry. Apparently I have Swedish records going back to the mid 1500s. Only problem is, I know nothing about these people. Why is it that we know nothing about those before us?

I've taken to archiving everything I can. I have some knowledge up to a few of my third great-grandparents. Anything prior I don't know. If you can, I'd recommend doing the same. Be warned though, it is time consuming. You also may dig up stuff about people and or yourself you may find shocking (and the rest I'd have to write is for another post).

So what do you all think? Why is it we don't know about our past ancestors?

Take me right? I have ancestors I know nothing about. I was doing some research just now on Ancestry. Apparently I have Swedish records going back to the mid 1500s. Only problem is, I know nothing about these people. Why is it that we know nothing about those before us? I've taken to archiving everything I can. I have some knowledge up to a few of my third great-grandparents. Anything prior I don't know. If you can, I'd recommend doing the same. Be warned though, it is time consuming. You also may dig up stuff about people and or yourself you may find shocking (and the rest I'd have to write is for another post). So what do you all think? Why is it we don't know about our past ancestors?
[–] Krier55 5 points (+5|-0)

I would guess that it’s due to most of the population being illiterate until recently.

[–] x0x7 1 point (+1|-0)

Also because most people didn't write journals. Most didn't pass their journals onto children. And without digitization, copies were scarce and so even if they did only one child would get it, and one grandchild, and so on. People had a lot of kids in the start of this country so if your lines pass through the revolution you are very unlikely to be the one with personal records.

[–] PMYB2 4 points (+4|-0)

Interesting idea, I have had quite a few elderly clients over the years that this was their hobby.

[–] Sound_Flames 3 points (+3|-0)

Yeah people do this as they get older, not when they're our age.

I've found mine to be aggravating and interesting to work on. I've dug up extended family that I didn't even know existed through my research.

[–] PMYB2 2 points (+2|-0)

I had an uncle that did it and couldn't really find much on my fathers side and I'm not sure I would have much luck on my mothers side if I did look into it. Not to mention atm I'm far too tied up to take on a project like that.

[–] starjello 3 points (+3|-0)

Immigrants in the past were expected to let go of the old country so that, along with genealogy being sort of a hobby of older people, would explain probably explain most of why people don't know much of their ancestry.

[–] P8rtsUnkn0wn 3 points (+3|-0)

Because we don't live in the lands of our ancestors anymore.

If you lived in Sweden you could go down to the local church and look up centuries of your families marriages, baptisms and deaths. Its entirely possible that you'd own a 400 year old family business. You could go visit a family plot and see generation after generation of your ancestors. If they could speak to you from beyond the grave you'd understand since you still share the same native tongue. And it's not just a single lineage line, its all of your lines as well as those of your spouse, neighbors and friends. You'd all share the same lineage and its evidence would be all around you.

[–] Professor_de_la_Paz 2 points (+2|-0)

I know a lot about my ancestors. There's only one branch I don't know that much about.It's pretty easy when almost everyone has come to the US since 1900.

[–] yeti 1 point (+1|-0)

As opposed to our future ancestors? I dig 23andMe. Early adopter.

[–] Sound_Flames 0 point (+0|-0)

What makes you comfortable using 23andme?

[–] yeti 1 point (+1|-0)

I get shitloads of info, and I haven't committed an felonies so I don't care who knows what about me. I mean ... ancestry, recessives, health risks. Met two second cousins I never knew about. Like I said, early adopter: $79 and a vial of spit well spent, IMO.

[–] Chips 1 point (+1|-0)

Dunno man, I can trace my family tree to the mayflower, the domesday book, both sides of the civil war, allied side of ww2, and nothing for the korean war. Muh daddy wuz a vietnam motorpool faggot tho. My sisters DNA test? I'm heavily mixed eastern/western euro garbage. Crazy how that works out. All those direct points of contact and such a varied bloodline. Aint that American?

[–] Sound_Flames 1 point (+1|-0)

I have two cousins that are descended from the Mayflower. You could very well be an extended relatives of theirs

[–] slwsnowman40 1 point (+1|-0)

I've got my mother's side of the tree back as far as a person's arrival in the states or colonies. I don't know if anyone has done that on my dad's side, I know it would be short since my grandfather was born here after his parents left the Soviets in 1927. Just going by what I know about my ancestry explains quite a bit about my character (roughly equal parts Irish, German, Russian/Georgian, Polish).

As for why, how many humans were able to read or write in the 19th century? Add in questionable record keeping and the ability to move hundreds of miles away and become a new person on arrival. If anything, it is easier to keep track of ancestors today just from a record keeping perspective. No matter how good an entity's record keeping is, you will reach a dead end where the records just end because that was when they began.

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