Jenny Ashcraft – Family Story Telling:

Sep 5, 2021 | aging, books, culture, Health, politics, seniors, technology

Jenny Ashcraft – Family Story Telling:

The Not Old Better Show, Interview Series

Welcome to The Not Old Better Show. I’m Paul Vogelzang, and as part of our Smithsonian Associates Art Of Living interview series,  we have an excellent interview with Jenny Ashcraft, who is a genealogist, a researcher, a lover of the written word, and who’ll join us today to talk about family history and resources available at

Our guest today, Jenny Ashcraft is a family history enthusiast. She works at Ancestry where she writes a blog at Fold3HQ. Jenny Ashcraft loves uncovering stories about ancestors and finds great joy in helping others to do the same. She feels completely at home immersed in dusty archives, pouring through manuscripts, or finding hidden gems in the pages of historic newspapers.

Alex Haley, author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family puts it this way:

“In all of us, there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage—to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, only one-third of Americans have gathered their family health history, although 96% of them believe that it is important. Family history is only one of a combination of factors that contribute to chronic diseases; still, not knowing it guarantees guessing where facts could make a difference.

The psychological benefits of genealogy are significant and plentiful: among them are basic needs like acceptance and friendship, ego needs like achievement and status, and self-actualization.

These psychological benefits and more, like knowing your roots boosts older adults mental wellbeing in positive ways, giving us:

  • a sense of accomplishment, especially if you do the research yourselves;
  • the perspective that we belong to a family which leaves a legacy for future generations;
  • a sense of self-worth and belonging to ancestors with whom we can participate to play our part in history;  meaningful things, and of course, as we age
  • acceptance of the concept of death and mortality.

Older people who have paid attention to our family health history are better able to contribute to their own wellbeing, and better prepared to affect the wellbeing of their descendants.

The grandparents, great-aunts, and great-uncles of our audience here on The Not Old Better Show also have the duty to relate the lessons their ancestors taught, and the moral principles that kept them focused.

We’ll talk about that, some wonderful new resources for family search, and more on our packed show today so please join me in welcoming to The Not Old Better Show genealogist Jenny Ashcraft.

My thanks to writer, historian, genealogy expert, Jenny Ashcraft for her time, expertise, and thoughtful preparation in joining me today.  You’ll find much more in the way of links, resources, and information on our website, and check out And, you can check out my website at for information on the resources and special programs provided by   My thanks, always, to the Smithsonian team for all they do to support the show.  Of course, my thanks to you, our wonderful Not Old Better Show audience.  Please keep your emails coming to me at  Remember, let’s talk about better.  The Not Old Better Show.  Thanks, everybody.