Tips this week from our friend Lacey Frazier of Branches and Trees Genealogy.
When I was first asked to write this blog post I was hesitant. I waited almost two days before getting back to Cheri with my answer. My apprehension existed because I realize that I’m not a traditional genealogist. What I failed to remember is that there is no such thing as a traditional genealogist. No one genealogist uses the same method of gathering and recording genealogical data, and if we follow the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), it doesn’t matter.
What I want to share with you today as a single woman without children is how I am passing down my passion for genealogy to the next generation of my family – my two nephews, Isaiah and Gabriel.
1) “Who is this?” – For a long time, I had a cover photo on my Facebook account with myself, and five previous generations of women and an idea struck me. I decided to introduce them to Gabriel (aka Gooby) who was just two-years-old at the time. The conversation went like this:
“Who is this, Gooby?” I asked pointing at myself in the photo.
“See See (his nickname for me)!” He replied excitedly.
“Who is this, Gooby?” I pointed to my mom.
“Do you know who this lady is?” I asked pointing to the left of my mother.
He looked at me skeptically.
“This is your Great-Nana. She’s your Nana’s mommy. Her name was Virginia. She would have loved you very much.” I hugged him tightly.
I went down the rest of the photo and told him who each woman was and how she was related. I didn’t expect him to remember them, but it was an excellent introduction. Even now he will point at a picture of my grandmother either when she was young or when she was older and say, “Great-Nana!” He also does this with pictures of close family members including my grandfather who passed away over ten years before Gooby was born.
2) Don’t just show! Tell! – In my family, we have a lot of people named for other people. My older nephew, Isaiah, shares a middle name with one of his grand-uncles and a 3rd great-grandfather. He thinks it’s neat (which for an almost teenager is about as good as it gets). His brother, Gooby, has two middle names because he was named after both of my sister’s parents (our mother and her father). One middle name is also the same as my mom’s father and great-grandfather’s first name (his great-grandfather and 3rd great-grandfather).
3) “Can I take a DNA test, Aunt Lacey?” – Two years ago, when I was buying a lot of DNA kits for various family members, my nephew asked me if he could do a DNA test, too. He wasn’t yet eleven, so I told him that I’d talk to his mother about it. She gave me her permission, but we decided to wait. I didn’t want to violate his privacy, and most websites have imposed restrictions due to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) until the child is 13. I made him a deal that if he were still interested in taking a DNA test and working on his family tree, I’d buy a test for his 13th birthday. This March I will be purchasing a DNA kit from AncestryDNA. I look forward to sharing this experience with him and helping him learn more about himself.
4) “When I was eight years old, we were coming back from visiting family in Kansas City for Thanksgiving when we heard on the radio that a tornado had hit our town. We didn’t even know if our house had been hit when out of the backseat your mom asked, ‘I wonder if they’re still going to have the Christmas parade this weekend.’” – Share the embarrassing stories! My sister was then 13 years old, and she played the flute in the junior high band. Her first thought wasn’t thought about which side of town had been hit but if she still had to march in the parade that Sunday. My nephew, Isaiah, who is in the middle school band loves this story!
They don't fill out family group sheets or pedigree charts, they haven't searched for their surname in a search engine, and they have never searched newspapers or microfilm for ancestors but give them time. If they are anything like their aunt (and they are), they are anything but traditional.
Lacey Frazier is a 5th generation Missourian who began researching her family in 1993 after her maternal grandmother told her about their ancestor, Civil War veteran Isaac Stapp (3rd great-grandfather). She is the proud aunt of the previously mentioned Isaiah and Gabriel as well as the honorary aunt of Ava, Jude, Noah, Ellen, Clara, and Sophie. She can be found at her severely neglected website Branches and Twigs Genealogy (http://www.branchesandtwigsgenealogy.com/), on Twitter (@MsLaceyFrazier), or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Passing it on to the next generation. Thanks for the tips, Lacey!
How are you sharing your family history with the next generation?