Genealogy with the Kids

Earlier this week as I was reading Randy’s “Best of the Genealogy Blogs,” I checked out Amy of WeTree’s post on getting kids into the genealogy fix.  In her post, Amy shares some wonderful suggestions for how to get kids involved with your genealogy efforts and shares some interesting experiences.  Bribes of course are one tactic 🙂

Her post was quite timely for me as this past weekend I took the kids out to a nearby cemetery. I wanted to photograph some tombstones to add to FindAGrave and they cooperated suprisingly well.  This is about the 3rd time I’ve taken them to a cemetery with me and I had no complaints this time.  Of course, I did use a bribe – telling them that if they allowed me an hour to do this, I’d treat them to a special surprise in the afternoon.  The surprise? Frozen yogurt. Yummy!

So, we went to Harpeth Hills Cemetery which is about a 10 minute drive from me. I’d not been there before, and though I expected it to be a large cemetery given the present number of listings on FindAGrave, it was a lot larger than I thought.  I was not looking for any one’s grave in particular, though next time I go, I’ll try to fulfill some photo requests.

When we arrived at the cemetery, I found a place to park and just had to stare at the view in front of me for a few minutes. It was absolutely gorgeous!

And, there was another large tree-covered hill to the right of this view.

I was telling the kids that back in the day, people used to visit cemeteries much in the same manner as we visit parks today. I learned that in my Death & Dying course in college. 🙂 While we were there, they ran all over that field above, and then came and walked with me as I took pictures.  Lately, Kaleya has been talking about an imaginary friend of hers named Cherry, so of course when we passed the headstone of John R. Cherry Jr., Jihad pointed this out to her. She loved it. I think she can now recognize the word Cherry.

At this cemetery, I took about 150 photos so over the next couple of weeks I’ll be adding them online.  I truly think the kids enjoyed it.  As we were leaving, we saw a family that had brought balloons to a gravesite to celebrate the birthday of the deceased. I think it was a child, for they were singing Happy Birthday and taking pictures.  It was nice to see this.  It was touching.

So, after that cemetery, I made one more stop to a local church cemetery, the Pasquo Church of Christ.  I almost felt bad about stopping, but as soon as we parked, Jihad noticed that one of the grave markers was for a McPherson family and he was game – we live on a street named McPherson so he recognized the name.  He wants me to research who this family was. I think I am going to save that for a different time as maybe I can suggest he looks them up and get him to go on a visit with me to the state archives.

So, after this, I fulfilled my promise and took them to get some frozen yogurt.  They were quite content.

And, I think Jihad now has a bit of a genealogy bug.  He asked me the next day if we could go back and now he wants to fill out his own family tree.   I of course can accommodate this and prepared a short list of questions for him to ask his mom about her family.   Within 10 minutes of finding out his grandfather’s name, I was able to locate a picture of him and show it to Jihad.

This was due to the fact that in Evansville, where both Kalonji and Jihad’s mom’s families are from, there is an excellent database of newspaper obituary listings that spans more than 50 years, the Browning Genealogy Database and sure enough, several of Jihad’s mom’s family members and ancestors are included!

I now have much work to do to work w/ Jihad to prepare his newfound family tree, but I think it will be a great experience for him!  On our next trip to Evansville, I’ll be taking him to help find the tombstones of his own relatives, I think he will get a lot from that.

These type of activities certainly make it all worthwhile.  🙂  Thanks Amy for the excellent post which inspired me to write this one.

Comments (4)

  1. John G. West

    Great story with great photos to follow along the story line. I hope the kids get excited about genealogy. 4-H has a genealogy project and when the parents will let the kid do some of the work… those kids are very much interested in their family histories. Thanks for sharing this! Found article from you being a friend on FaceBook.

  2. Cindy

    Fantastic post and what a great day you had! I certainly hope that a new love for genealogy has been discovered! Thanks for sharing your day with us!

  3. Mark

    Interesting story. I looked up the McPhersons since I have a friend with that name who is a member of the church of Christ. Here is the marriage record for this couple. Not sure if they are related to my friend!

  4. Robyn

    This is why you are one of my favorite gen bloggers, Taneya. First of all, the kids are gorgeous! Second, the cemetery looks like a golf course..LOL. Reading through posts like yours always gets me inspired..I think there are days I could write 3-4 posts!
    Take care and thanks for visiting me at Reclaiming Kin.

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