Friday, May 24, 2013

The Youth are Eager to Learn about Genealogy

     Back in December during a radio interview with Randy Whited, on the FGS station, I mentioned plans I had to give some presentations to a local elementary school. I also believe I mentioned this in a past blog, “A Day on the Radio”. Well last week I had that honor and was invited to three separate presentations, with around 55 fourth grade students in each presentation.  I had a wonderful time and I have to admit a little surprised to see the excitement and knowledge that some of these fourth graders had.  When I asked each class how many knew what a genealogist was, over 90% in each class raised their hands.
     I put together a slide show of about 15 slides including, my introduction slide.  The slide show consisted of examples of a census, a family sheet, individual research sheets, a six generation chart and many photos.  I also scanned some letters and diary entries and included those into the slide show. I know what you’re thinking, boring and those poor kids. Don’t worry I didn't spend a lot of time on the slide show but what time I did spend the questions and conversations were great.
     After everyone finished discussing some of their family stories I pulled out some hands-on objects. It was hilarious pulling out a coffee grinder that belonged to my great grandmother. A few were surprised that K-cups weren't around during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I planned ahead and brought along a bag of coffee beans and they had a chance to grind a few beans.  I also brought some photo albums, maple syrup container, rolling pin, wash pitcher with bowl and a pair of ice skates. We talked about the importance of these objects and what they meant to those family members and the stories that go along with each piece. I could just see their little minds a work and actually processing what was being said and then it happened. There were questions about how do they start researching their families. Talking about the quilts they have that their great great aunt made, the pipes that belonged to their great grandfather and the framed passenger list in their home with their family name on it.
    So for all you that are researching your family’s history or those of you who are genealogist and worried that the younger generation doesn't care. Guess what, they do!  All you have to do is talk to them about it, share what you’ve learned and show them how to start their own research.

     I could go on and on about this and I’m sure you will see more post on this subject in future blog post by me so don’t be surprised. But I do ask that all of you take the time to share what you do with the younger generation, maybe they don’t know where to start or who to ask.