Why Retirement is the Perfect Time to Plot Your Family Tree

Hobbies and pastimes are crucial to a “successful” retirement. Whatever your interests, keeping the mind and body occupied is not only useful for extending quality of life but also for coping with the sudden lack of purpose many feel when they leave work.

By this stage in life, so many of us have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren and, sad though it is, it’s a time when our friends and loved ones might be ageing as well.

Retirement, then, is the ideal time to build your family tree! Not only does it give you a hobby (family trees can take as much time as you want to put into them) but there are always new things to discover that you never knew. A trip down memory lane as well as filling in the blanks as to how you got to where you are.

For many people in retirement, pondering your legacy becomes common. Also for many, the very fact of having happy and healthy children is enough. This can be added to, however, with a family tree. It’s highly likely that you don’t already have one lying around, not many people do. We mostly all know about our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents but taking it a step further can uncover all sorts of things you never knew about your heritage.

Quality time with your children and grandchildren is also much sought after in retirement and a family tree is a rewarding and inclusive activity to get people involved in. The maths of it alone can create an incredible feeling of awe and wonder, when you consider everyone has 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents and 16 great-great grandparents. Each of these likely had brothers, sisters, cousins and beyond. People you never knew the name or never knew existed at all but all contributed in some way to the way you look, your personality and your children.

Another thing about making a family tree is the rekindling of old friendships and acquaintances that it may bring too. You might share a surname with someone on the far side of the world who is your grandmother’s sister’s descendant, giving you a connection and reason to travel. Or indeed meeting up with people you haven’t seen in 50 years only to discover a long lost friend.

It’s important for your children and grandchildren as well. Although the teenagers of the family might roll their eyes and not find it that interesting in the here and now, everyone eventually gets to that stage of being interested in their family history and being the first in your family to note these things down on paper is as much of a legacy as anything.

There are many different websites, books and experts who can help you make a start on this. You can even find companies that will do it for you (for a significant fee, no doubt) so however you wish to approach it there are options. The main point is that you do though. You may discover you are indirectly related to a Duke, to a famous footballer or someone you shared a desk at work for 10 years and never knew your connection. Celebrities on Who Do You Think You Are discovered all sorts about their history, so why wouldn’t you?

Whatever your interests and hobbies might be or whatever your plans are for retirement, there are many pastimes that should be as universally interesting to older people than plotting your family tree.

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