Monday, April 2, 2007

Making Connections Through a Trip to the Cemetery

My kids are pretty tolerant of my passion for genealogy, but they don't share it. Although I would love it if one of them would "catch the bug," I'm not holding my breath. (grin)

I do, however, want them to understand the connection that we have with those that came before us. Since my husband's family has lived in our area for more than 150 years, one of the ways I plan to do this is with a trip to a few of the local cemeteries.

Using my genealogy software, I'm able to make a list of all of my husband's direct ancestors who were buried in our county, categorized by the cemetery in which they are buried. This list contains about 30 ancestors, buried in about six different cemeteries in our county.

On a nice weekend this spring, I plan to take my kids and this list, and together we'll go "visit the ancestors" and put flowers on their graves. If I increased the list to include the siblings of my children's direct ancestors, then we would need to bring enough flowers to put on over 80 graves! I'll have to give that some thought.

While we're placing flowers on the graves of all the parents who came before, I'll try to share with my kids what I've learned about each one: what they did for a living, where they came from, how many kids they had, what wars they fought in, and anything else I can find out that will help bring their stories to life. I don't expect this to make much of a difference that day, but hopefully it will create a memory that will stay with them through the years. And when they hear someone mention Samuel Hackmann or Sylvester Pauley, maybe they'll remember this day, and feel a connection to the ones who came before.

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