During most of our lives, we are busy living life, earning a living and raising our children. Fitting genealogy research into our schedule fills the role of relaxation. It is a different kind of work but we treasure our research finds and activities. Then our children grow up, get married and the cycle repeats itself.
Sometimes our children have in an interest in genealogy too, but not always.
In my experience, I’ve found that the genealogy bug frequently jumps a generation. Our children my like the research discoveries of a parent but almost always there is a grandchild who becomes more than a ‘liker’. They actually do ancestral research.
If you are like us, you frequently enjoy overnight visits by your grandchildren. Keeping them entertained isn’t too hard if you live in an orchard with a lot of room to play or especially if your home is full of electronic devices and Wi-Fi Internet access..
The overnight visits are great opportunities to involve these young folks in your ancestral quest. I typically ‘salt the mine’ with a few fairly easy successes and then move them in to more involved research. Once they realize that the quest as a ‘thinking game’ and put on their electronic Sherlock hats, they quickly utilize their electronic devices and Internet skills trying to outdo the finds of their grandpa.
We talk about the value of online data that isn’t sourced. We talk about the histories of their ancestors, the locations they lived and the events going on in their day and place. We look at their photos. We find where they are buried and we track down all of their kids and grandkids. Then we add the new information to our family database.
Some of the kids loose interest in fairly short order but if the challenges are well structured and if the rewards are right (think M&M’s or Chocolate Cake or their own bottle of grandma’s homemade applesauce) they eagerly engage in the quest.
Add some summer field trips to cemeteries, the family history library and to museums that are displaying remnants of their ancestors possessions and it is easy to keep them infected with the genealogy bug.
Hopefully, they will eventually become the custodians of your years of research, your vast collections of primary documents and the love of ancestral knowledge that has been such a large part of your life.
Their lives will eventually become very busy too but now that the genealogy foundation is laid and the tools are now in their quiver, odds are they will continue to be family history researchers and one of your family historians.