St Mary's Church, Ashwell, Hertfordshire
I started investigating my family tree after mum died in 2008, because I wanted to know more about my roots. I was born in the Hertfordshire town of Hitchin and presumed that probably many previous generations had been too (my parents were among the first generation to move well away in the 1960's.)
But beyond Great Grandparents many families came from the surrounding villages. My 4x Great Grandmother Ann Picking was born in the village of Ashwell, Hertfordshire and her marriage opened a door to hundreds of predecessors going back as far as 12x Great Grandparents mostly from this same village. Fortuitously for me a number of other people had already done the research, so it was just a case of slotting in the bits of the jigsaw. There is also an excellent Education Centre in the village with a very helpful director who has been happy to help whenever I have had any questions.
This for me has been orientation, discovering my roots and the stories of my ancestors. Where they lived and what they did have shed light on fascinating social history. Doesn't make any difference to where I'm headed but has helped to understand some of the unspoken things of the past.