What's the legacy that you would like to leave for your children and for future generations? How are you making sure that it will be passed on?
There are many practices for ensuring that your family history survives into future generations. Perhaps the most crucial is including your children and descendants in your family history research.
In China, a new law makes it mandatory for children to visit their parents (over age 60), with a fine for those who don’t comply.
According to the law, children are required to visit their parents “frequently” and make sure their financial and spiritual needs are met.
The new law would be a major reform in safeguarding the rights of Chinese elderly. Coupled with an aging population and a one-child policy, the number of those over 60 is projected to increase. In 2011, some 185 million people were over 60. By 2050, a third of China’s population will be classed as elderly.
Photography is a great way to document our ancestors and to learn more about who they are, even just from their portraits.
Since the late-19th century, photography has become much more accessible and affordable for middle class families, yet taking a photo back then was a very different experience from today's.
Two centuries ago, there were no “instant” photos. Those posing for photographs had to remain in position - patiently - for five minutes to get the perfect image.
In early May, New Zealand’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages released an updated list of banned baby names.
Do you have a Lucifer, Queen V, King, V8, Prime Minister or Justice in your family tree? Those are all (as well as others) on the list that are unacceptable.
The banned list is not static, and grows over time. According to the registrar, acceptable names may not cause offense, be unreasonably long or resemble any official title and rank.
When the genealogy “bug” hits us, we just can't help ourselves. We want to search deeper into our heritage.
A great way to start is with our children and grandchildren.
Children are curious about black-and-white photos, strange names, and seeing a family tree filled with images of people they may or may not know. Most importantly, they ask questions - lots of questions!
Children love listening to stories, so reading to them about the family is a great way to grab their interest and demonstrate that they are part of a grander history. Sharing family moments creates a stronger family bond, as well as a chance to share ancestral information.
Do you share family stories with your children and grandchildren? How do you pass on your unique heritage to the younger generations? Let us know in the comments below.
In Denise Schipani's article, 10 things you should never say to your kids, she lists common phrases that parents may say to their children in the heat of the moment.
Although these comments might not sound bad, they can actually be harmful and upsetting.
- "I know you can try harder."
- "Are you sure you need that second cupcake?"
- "You always…" or "You never…"
- "Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother?"
- "I told you waiting until the last minute was a mistake!"
- "You’re the best at soccer!"
- "Don’t worry—the first day of school will be fine."
- "Because I said so!"
- "I wish you didn’t hang out with Jack; I don’t like that kid."
- "That’s not how you do it! Here, let me."
What's interesting about the list is that no phrase is actually that bad, objectively. However, the sentiment could upset or potentially damage the child.
Parenting advice has changed over time. The old Victorian adage - "children should be seen and not heard" - is clearly no longer relevant. Our parents were brought up differently than their own parents. And the way they brought us up, and how we bring up our own children, is likely also different.
The long school vacation provides perfect opportunities to encourage the younger generations to develop an interest in family history.
Here are our top seven tips for encouraging them:
- Visit close family. Encourage the kids to learn a bit more about their nearest and dearest.
- Take them to meet more distant family members, and explain how they are all related. Encourage them to ask questions about the family history.
- Take family trips to ancestral towns. Walk around the area. Show them where the relatives lived, went to school and more.
- Visit history museums. Explain why history is important and try to make a personal connection to specific periods, such as when your family immigrated to a new country and why.
- Look through the old family photos. Demonstrate the connections between the people and the places where the photos were made. Do they look like any of the relatives? Point that out to make a connection.
- Introduce the younger generations to online research. Set challenges to find relatives using available resources.
- Learn from and be inspired by others - here are posts about David Krueger and Jeff Zeitlin, teenage genealogists from different countries, who shared their family research and amazing discoveries with our readers.
Do you wish that your children or grandchildren were more interested in their family history?
Most children have little interest when they're young. While growing up, children are often surrounded by family and exposed to information about their relatives. As they get older, they begin to think about those relationships. Over time, they begin to develop a natural curiosity as to who they are and where they come from.
But how can we speed up the process?
Recently we posted about interesting birth stories. As a follow-up, we've been thinking about our children's names and how we choose them.
There are several reasons why parents select a particular name for a child. Some choose to name after a deceased relative, or to honor a living person. Some simply like a certain name or its meaning.
Other factors are important when selecting a name. What will the child's initials spell? Would a name result in an embarrassing nickname?
Some countries prohibit using certain names and won't allow the registration of such names. Parents may want to avoid names that might get them in trouble with the law!
Many families use recurring names in each generation, as they name children after those in the previous one. This is very helpful in tracing some families, as an unusual given name can provide clues if the surname is common. Of course, in some families, it can offer another challenge as some given names are used so commonly that researchers may have trouble separating each generation from another.
How did your parents select your first name? Who were you named after? Do you have a story about your name? Share your story in the comments below.
Two weeks ago we introduced Elisabeth, our French community manager. Here she shares a post about grandparents.
The earliest memories I have of my grandparents revolve around fun and candy! They picked me up from school, took me on long weekends and invited me to stay with them during the summer. My grandmother taught me to ride a bike and my grandfather told stories so that we’d fall asleep.