2023.10.25 – The Grumpy Old Man’s Guide to Passing the Torch


By Pat Smart,
Copyright (c), 2023

Alright, all you family historians! Grab your bifocals and put down that dusty old record because I have a thought or two about an issue I am concerned about. I am the only one in my family that is into genealogy.

With all this hustle and bustle to dig up ol’ Great Great Grandpa Joe’s second cousin, if you’re going to stroll down memory lane, digging up skeletons and old family photos, you better make sure it isn’t all for nothing.

Genealogy isn’t just a lonely pursuit of dead folks; it’s about living, breathing history. It’s YOUR history. And you know who else’s? Your KIDS. That’s right. Those tech-obsessed youngsters playing video games need to know where they come from, aside from blaming the stork or some old legend about a cabbage patch.

Here’s the crux of it: Your rigorous search for ancestors should be a family affair. Why? Well, for one, you won’t live forever (news flash!). And believe it or not, you do NOT want your hard work tossed in some attic or, heaven forbid, reduced to kindling for a chilly winter evening. Tragic!

I once had an aunt who conducted extensive research, but my cousin was unsure how to handle her findings. Heeding Seekerz’ guidance, I shared my passion for genealogy with everyone I knew. This led to my cousin handing over my aunt’s work to me instead of stowing it in the attic or mistakenly discarding it. Thankfully, we prevented a potential loss for the time being. However, I now face the challenge of finding someone to continue this legacy.

So, how do we prevent such a dire fate for your meticulously crafted family tree? Simple. Rope in the kids while they are young! Make it a family project. Share those captivating tales of olden times, misadventures, and ancestors’ resilience. If you dare, paint a picture of a world without smartphones and watch their eyes widen in horror. Chuckles aside, this is about fostering respect for lineage, understanding their roots, and ensuring that your research finds eager hands ready to carry the Torch forward.

But here’s the kicker – involving the younger generation in genealogy isn’t just about safeguarding your work. It’s about teaching them the value of history, stories, and connection. We often lament how disconnected the younger generation is, with their heads buried in screens. Well, folks, here’s your chance to unplug them, even momentarily, and show them an analog, tangible, and just as thrilling world!

Picture it: family gatherings where stories aren’t just told but relived. Hours spent sifting through old letters, photos, and trinkets, each with a tale begging to be retold and lessons in perseverance, love, war, peace, and the simple joy of a life well-lived. Ah! The nostalgia.

So, don’t just be content unearthing your family’s past. Involve your kids, and guarantee that your labor of love is cherished, expanded upon, and passed down with reverence. Genealogy isn’t just about looking back but guiding the future as well.

You may ask why I didn’t take my own advice. When I got the Genealogy Bug, my kids were all adults and had their own lives. Are you in the same situation as I am? What can you do? Again, I took the Seeker’s advice. Don’t give up when you run into a “Gotcha.” I have 20 Grandkids and 12 Great Grandkids if my kids aren’t interested. I still have possibilities.

Happy digging. And remember, always have an extra shovel ready for the young ones. They might surprise you!

Pat Smart

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