Monday, March 3, 2008

A Spark of Interest

When I talk about genealogy to any family member other than my mother I am met either by deaf ears or lots of eye rolling. I had a slight breakthrough with my grandson, Mike, on Sunday.

When the boys arrived I asked if they knew what race had started that day and Mike surprised me by knowing that the Iditarod had just started. He's in 4th grade and they are following the race in the classroom. He had picked a musher to follow (Ryan Redington) and I started teasing him about picking someone other than our cousin, Robert Bundtzen. This led to lots of questions. As the oldest grandchild on both sides he thinks of cousins as little people that he gets to play with.

So we talked about how we're related. He understands that his Nana is my mother and therefore his great-grandmother so I explained that Nana had a sister Vivian., making her our Aunt Vivian. Aunt Vivian had two daughters and they are our cousins. One of those daughters married Dr. Bundtzen which made him our cousin by marriage. I lost him when I tried to explain 1st and 2nd cousins so I dropped it. There will be time for that. For now I'm happy that he understands that he has relatives that he's never met and he's excited that he could go to school today and tell everyone that he'll be following two different mushers. Maybe when he starts studying the Revolutionary War I can make it personal by telling him about Capt. Daniel Carlisle and several others.


Anonymous said...


I know where you are coming from. I've pretty much given up on trying to share my joy on new finds with my family. However, the younger one's always seem to get it!

My daughter had a similar situation when they were studying the Civil War. She was proud to be able to say that she had a relative that not only served in the War but also was on both sides of the war!

Good luck with your grandson!

Thomas MacEntee said...

Ditto here. I get looks that communicate either one or all of the following:

"And this is important to me, why?"
"Does it involve alcohol?"
"You need to get out more"

Every once in a while there is a spark.

That is why I have my big-*ss ancestor trees on each of my office walls. A friend who runs a graphic business can bring PDFs up to 48" wide and 144" long. When I have them hanging in the office, it spurs people to ask questions.

Thomas MacEntee said...

I meant "print" not "bring" above. Not awake yet or too much brandy in my coffee.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

It's great when kids take an interest in things like this. Hopefully the interest will grow and more questions will be asked :)


My daughter is interested in
history and geography. She
reads my blog and has questions.
This is great. I try to help
her understand that she is
part of a much bigger family
(many generations) than just
our own.

Chery Kinnick said...


Good luck nurturing this new sprout! My children are much older, and though they don't exactly roll their eyes when I'm on the subject of family relations, they haven't exactly started asking questions either--which is a sure sign the bug is taking over.

Janice said...


Your experience with your family generally not being interested in the history is pretty typical. In my very large family there are a few interested (in receiving) but only one who actually wants to help research. You are lucky to have found ONE!

Blog: Cow Hampshire

Tex said...

Great!! I have a niece and a nephew who are interested--when they were little, I'd send them military records I'd find or some other info I thought they'd be interested in. Now that they're grown, they initiate the conversation--it is very gratifying. My own sons aren't all that interested, though they have been known to ask questions on occasion. I consider that a success.
Keep cultivating that grandson!