Your Past Forges Your Future

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If you’ve ever watched the PBS series “Finding Your Roots”, you know how captivating it is. In each episode, host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. reveals family histories of his celebrity guests. His research team digs deep into their family trees uncovering inevitably surprising information about their ancestors that creates for them a new and emotional connection with their past.

Carole King finally understood why her grandmother was distant after she learned of her unbearable hardships for the first time. Bernie Sanders realized why his father never spoke about life before coming to America after hearing a horrific story about the uncle he never met. QuestLove first learned his ancestors were brought to the South as slaves even after slavery was abolished. And Larry David discovered that his great grandfather was a slave owner who fought in the Confederate Army -- none of which his family had ever mentioned.

The personal information Mr. Gates shares with his guests is often harrowing, astonishing and shameful by any standard. But once they begin to absorb the details, his guests express greater appreciation for their family members and the sacrifices they endured. This invariably gives them a much better sense of themselves and how they got to be who they are today. It’s really powerful stuff.

We may not have Henry Louis Gates to dig into our history. But we each can begin telling our story, describing the people in our lives and how we move in the world. These personal narratives will be invaluable to those closest to you, both now and in the future. It’s also an invaluable journey for you -- giving you the ability to be reflective and thoughtful as you connect your past with your future.

It can be hard getting started. Familial is here to help. We offer a comprehensive service for capturing your family’s stories and wisdom. If you’re interested in learning more about this experience or gifting it to someone else, visit Familial and contact us at or by phone at 415.310.2550.

Aviva Black