Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Love of History

My daughter recently graduated from high school, and was given the opportunity to travel to several different locations as a gift. Now I have to admit that I do not know if that gift was really for her accomplishment or for my survival of the last 12 years, but either way, I was really surprised by her answer.

She told me that she wanted to "see history."  See history. No Disneyworld, or beach, or wild location--- history. Now I have to say that history is my daughter's favorite subject in school, but studying the subject and spending time during your summer break going to see it are two diffeerent matters. However, I was silently thrilled because I knew that I had the "National Maryland to Kentucky Reunion" in Maryland in July, and now I could join her graduation trip with that reunion.

My mother and I are the active genealogists in my family, and have been so for years. I first began my quest when I was 13 (before the great miniseries "Roots", but only by a smidgen), and actually invented my own version of a family group form on the typewriter back then, and have been inventing ever since. Other members of my family are interested, and like to hear about new discoveries. I have a brother who is starting to help with some of my brickwalls through his access to another repository, but for the most part they like to see the final product, as do most of our families. After all, if everyone in my family was working on the genealogy, we would be running in so many crazy directions and crawling all over each other that my head would never quit spinning.

I will be sharing parts of this history/genealogy quest over the next few weeks, but what is the important point here is how I was able to get my daughter more invested in the binders, file folders, trips to courthouses and libraries that come with our family history.

I put locations on our itinerary that were relevant to our family and met the goal of "seeing history". Then I would remind my daughter of the relationships between the location we were visiting and our family by saying such things as "Can you just imagine what it must have been like for ..,... .... ? As each day went on, I found her getting more excited, and more interested as she saw how much the genealogy I did at home was connected to historical events ranging from the Revolutionary War to the persecution of those who were of the wrong faith in Maryland, to the beginnings of this country.

 When others might have purchased T-shirts as souvenirs, we bought copies of historical documents and coins (another hobbby of hers) and books about the history we were visiting. "April, 1865" by Jay Winik was a good one that we read out loud in the van as we drove throughout locations in Virginia visiting Civil War sites. This kept all of us more invested in the sites we were visiting.

Now that we are home, we have a full bookshelf of new history and genealogy books,and memories I will treasure forever. I am also glad that now when I discuss something about an ancestor, not only do they become more alive to me, but they also do so for my daughter.


GrannyPam said...

This is a wonderful tale about what must have been a great journey. Thanks for giving us a peek!

Carol said...

Wonderful, just like GrannyPam said. Brilliant, Carol whispers to the mother!

Kim said...

Every now and then the mother can feel proud of the accomplishment, and the moments as well!!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

How fun! Sounds like a wonderful trip full of great memories.