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British millennials lack family history knowledge

Lifestyle

British millennials lack family history knowledge

StoryTerrace, has unveiled that for over half the UK’s millennials (51%), priceless family history has been lost…

Landmark research from the biography-writing service has unveiled that for over half of the UK’s millennials (51%) family history has been lost as their older relatives are no longer around to share it with them.

Rutger Bruining, CEO and Founder of StoryTerrace:

“It’s saddening to see that so much of our family history is being lost with time, especially due to the positive effects that knowing about it can have on our wellbeing. Hopefully, the data unveiled by our study places new importance on preserving these memories and encourages people to share them with their loved ones, which future generations will benefit enormously.”

The study subsequently showed that this is having detrimental impacts on their mental health, as a fifth admit that not knowing enough about their background breeds feelings of guilt, imposter syndrome or loneliness. This is in stark contrast to the generation preceding them, commonly known as Gen X – encompassing those typically between 40 – 56-years-old, with less than half sharing this sentiment at just 9%.

According to a survey from Deloitte, a staggering 50% of UK millennials feel stressed and anxious all, or most of the time. The distinct lack of connection between millennials and their relatives’ past represents a missed opportunity to boost the wellbeing of British adults, with a report from the UK National Commission for UNESCO finding that knowledge of one’s heritage and background promotes a positive sense of self, solidarity and resilience.

This sentiment is echoed in StoryTerrace’s nationally representative study, with just under a third of millennials (29%) stating that it would significantly improve their mental health if they were to hear about their relatives’ history and background. Knowing, recording, preserving, and sharing our family histories can provide countless benefits to individuals, families, and entire societies. Despite this, almost 1-in-4 (24%) admitted they’re raising their children without passing down enough information about their family history, in contrast to their Gen X counterparts at 16%. This suggests this is a deep-rooted trend that looks set to continue.

This is of particular importance given that according to the ONS, instances of some mental illnesses such as depression more than doubled during the pandemic, and this is being further exacerbated by the insurmountable stress caused by the deepening cost-of-living crisis. StoryTerrace’s data suggests that developing a deeper understanding of one’s roots could go some way towards mitigating this. But what can we do to prevent this trickling into our future generations?

Rutger Bruining, CEO and Founder of StoryTerrace:

“When we look upon the world historically, we open ourselves up to new insights about the present, and the world around us comes alive. One of the key benefits of writing a biography is how it brings people closer to their family, their history and a better understanding of who they really are. For us, it is not just about documenting one’s story, it is about cementing your identity by connecting you with your past.

“Half of the memoirs we see here at StoryTerrace are heritage stories. This means an individual comes to document and preserve their cultural history so that future generations are able to read and learn about where they came from, and their relatives’ enriching lives. This means digging up old memories, reaching out to relatives from your past and filling in the gaps that are perhaps blurrier in the present. In doing so, the client comes to learn a wealth of information about their origins – it is a beautiful process.”

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