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The Next Generation Learns About Genealogy

The Sons of Norway organization encourages its members to become proficient in various Norwegian cultural skills. We can earn beautiful, enameled pins as we progress through various levels of knowledge and understanding on any given aspect of Norwegian life. This week I began working on Level 2 of Norwegian genealogy.

To complete this level, I must add several names to my family tree. I also need to relate a story about one of these people. For the final requirement, the instructional packet offers various activity suggestions I can do to apply what I have learned.

For my activity at this level, I have chosen to help a grandchild begin a genealogy research project. I selected my granddaughter, who will enter 5th grade in the fall, as the researcher.

Earlier this week we got together to introduce her to genealogy. I showed her around my office and explained how I keep my records. We looked at the paper ones and those online. My data includes information on both her parents’ ancestry, so she could look at a complete tree for several generations.

Next, I showed her my current research project, my Riddle line. We looked at the photos of these ancestors and at some of the documents I have collected. I described what I need to find next about this family and told her about the road trip to their homes in Nebraska that I will take later this year.

She finished her lesson by copying her tree onto a decorative paper chart that she can keep. We began it with her own name and filled it in back to her second great-grandparents. She giggled at some of the unusual ethnic names of her ancestors, names like Flottemesch.

Next time I see her, I will have her identify a genealogy research question that she can pursue. Perhaps she can fill in a family group sheet for her own family. I have some, but not all the documentation she would need. After we begin it in my office, she can consult her mother, my daughter-in-law, to complete it.

From this activity, I have learned that this young lady does not appear to have the interest in genealogy that I had at her age. She likely will not carry on my work. Yet after this summer, she will have a greater understanding of her heritage. She will know what I have collected and where to find it.

Best of all, we will have spent time doing something fun together, inspired by the Sons of Norway.

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