Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Genealogy and Children

I got started in genealogy as a “little” project to do with my children (one elementary and one in middle school at the time) one summer. The bug bit and we were off. Mostly my children wanted to find out what country we were from and if we were related to anyone famous. Finding a family full of farmers who seemed to have always been here (i.e. America) quickly caused their enthusiasm to wane. No one famous popped up in our family tree. For the most part our ancestors appeared to be from England or its surrounding countries.

Until…… one Memorial Day weekend.

My son innocently asked if we had any ancestors who fought in a war. It was difficult to be nonchalant, because on the inside I was jumping up and down with excitement. Why, yes, we do have ancestors who fought in a war. I quickly told him about his great x 6 grandfather James Harward who fought in the Revolutionary War out of Wake County, NC. I then took him to the site of the original Wake County Courthouse where the troops gathered before marching off to war. (It’s now a condominium complex with an historical marker in front.) I could see him trying to process that he was standing where his ancestor stood 200+ years before him.

Our quick journey that day into the family history was just that: quick. It was simple. It was relevant at that moment. He learned about his ancestor that day, and I learned how to share family history on his level of interest.

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