I'll tell you a little of my family history - bear with me as I'm trying to make a point. On my maternal side I was born into Scottish aristocracy. My great-grandfather was a Knight of the Garter, and my great uncle is the current Earl of Perth where he reigns his tiny domain of Drummond village from the grandeur of Drummond Castle. My great-grandfather was also a drunk with a bad temper. Needless to say that combination led to his banishment to 'the colonies' and he packed up my then seven year old grandfather, his other son and single daughter and made for the 'wilds' of Australia.
Sadly to say the alcoholism that had led to my banished great-grandfather continued in my grandfather and the family fortune, such as it was, was soon spent. However, technically my sisters' and I are still 'Ladies' and fully entitled to use the title - we don't because that would not only be weird but kind of stupid.
On my paternal side life was a little more interesting. My great-grandfather was a circus owner, lion tamer and ringmaster and married the lead trapeze artist who was a genuine Romany gypsy [outcast after marrying my great-grandfather]. They spent the bulk of their lives on the road with the circus and in fact my grandfather was born in the back of a circus cart used to carry costumes. Unfortunately with their love of wanderlust and excitement came a history of serious mental illness. Virtually all of my relatives on that side of the family have some kind of mental illness, including me who is a bi-polar survivor.
So, this is all very interesting and I've got some great photos and even a flyer from the circus but what does it really mean and what does it have to do with me today? In all honesty I can't really see how any of it really matters at all. It doesn't have any impact on my life as I'm living it now. Maybe it explains why I've sometimes been called a snob or why I have the travel bug so badly or maybe it means nothing at all.
I guess I just believe that you make your own path in life, which has no bearing on where you've come from. That probably sounds strange given my love for ancient history but in the 'real' world I think we're all just people trying to live out our lives the best way we can - or at least, that's what I'm doing. For me, in my personal life, tomorrow is more important than yesterday and today is my chance to be the best person I can be. Sure I'm a product of my upbringing and life experiences but these are all in the now, not the past.
Anyway just my thoughts on the matter, I know many, many people find it terribly exciting and enlightening to study their history. I'm just not one of them.