Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to share your family history with your family.-- Take them with you.

For the next idea on sharing your family history with your family, try taking them with you to places in your family's history, and as you do your research. It is fun to record the places in your history with pictures and video of today, especially with your current family involved. One of the most moving experiences I have ever had was a couple of years ago when I took a day, and took my children to the places where I lived when I was their ages. We went to my elementary school, to the playground near my childhood home and to the church I went to. I was so moved to see the span of my life all in one little afternoon, and watching my children play where I had played made me really stop and evaluate where my life was and where I wanted it to go. I took some beautiful pictures that day. I put them side my side with pictures of myself in my lecture, but for the sake of my children, I don't think I'll post them here. You'll just have to catch one of my lectures I guess.

As you take a journey like this, be sure to record the places with pictures and video. One of the ways I became associated with my husband's family history was when we would visit his mother after we were first married. She would take us out to all the family sites in the area and I'm so grateful now for those pictures and video--especially with her narrative. It is also fun to compare the modern pictures with antique pictures. These are the pictures of my Grandparents' house in Westchester California: Left, just after they bought it for 6 thousand dollars, Me and Grandpa when I was little, and right a couple of years ago.
Besides taking them to tour your own family's history, you might take them to other places that help them visualize your family's history. I love places of re-enactment, such as:

  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • Mystic Seaport, Conneticut
  • Old Sturbridge, Massachusetts
  • This is the Place State Park, Utah
  • Civil War reenactments
  • Frontier reenactments
We volunteered for two summers up at This is the Place. It was so fun. My kids know how to thread a large loom, spin wool, train oxen, play pioneer games like graces and walking on stilts, and how to survive without air conditioning. They also really enjoyed Williamsburg last year. I even learn alot at these places. It is interesting for all of us. Did you know that as they settled the west, to make a street sign, you would have put the pole upside down from the way the tree grew, so that the cell structure was upside down and wouldn't suck water up the tree the way it would when it was alive?
You also might try regular Historical Sites/Visitors Centers/Museums such as:
  • Ellis Island
  • A Grist Mill
  • Oregon Trail
  • or any Local Sites, they don’t have to be far away.
At some of these places you can take advantage of classes, you can learn the skills and games of the time or sometimes there are activites or camps for kids.

Find a place to go and take a day trip with your family. Not only can you relax and enjoy some time together, but you can also talk to them about your family history. Enjoy.


Bob Kramp said...

To these great ideas, you can add: Take the younger ones to a Scottish Higland Game (Scottish culture of course), or a Revolutionary War re-enactment (Williamsburg, VA, has an annual one on last weekend of June) or Civil War Re-enactment. They love the boom-boom of black powder.

Janet Hovorka said...

Oh absolutely Bob. Anything with cannons. My kids loved Williamsburg. I think I loved the cannons as much as they did. And have you ever been to the re-enactment site for Yorktown? We saw a demonstration there where they actually taught us what each of the people around the cannon were doing to clean and reload the cannon. It was soooo cool. Great ideas. Thanks,