Genealogy Tip O’ The Day: Keep your mouth in low and your ears on high
When it comes to genealogy, if you are like you know two truths.
Truth #1 is those of us who groove on genealogy really love talking about it.
Truth #2 is at some time or another we worry about the age old question ‘How do we attract someone to carry on our passion for genealogy after we are gone?’
Today’s Onward To Our Past® Genealogy Tip O’ The Day is to always remember these two truths and employ the following suggestion as a result: Due to truth #1 keep your mouth in low gear and your ears on high. This can be easier said than done I know.
Our natural inclination is to want to tell anyone who will listen all we know and have discovered when it comes to our family history and genealogy. We can recite births, marriages, maiden names, occupations, home villages and deaths dating back centuries and far more. Our
However…with Truth #2 how do we know what the ‘hot button’ of some other person might be that will ignite their fire and lead them to develop a passion for genealogy such as ours? We can only do this by keeping our mouth on low and our ears on high.
I know the term ‘active listening’ is far too over used, but that is exactly what must be employed when we interact with others regarding our genealogy and family history. We need to listen for their clues, their messages, their hidden loves, and as I said their ‘hot button’.
By listening we can learn where we might best set the hook with this person. When it comes to our family history and heritage not everyone gets turned on by the same thing. As I used to tell our children ‘there is a reason God gave is the gift of Neapolitan ice cream to Bridgeman’s. Some folks like chocolate, some like vanilla, some like strawberry, and some like all three! Life would be so very boring if we all just liked vanilla.’ Likewise with genealogy unless we listen and listen intently we may miss which ‘flavor’ someone likes best.
Not everyone is interested in the same thing about our genealogy. Some may like the historic clothing of our ancestors, some may enjoy the foods and recipes. Others may really enjoy the history and times of our ancestors. Perhaps others get turned on by the traditions and superstitions from bygone times. Some folks find the occupations of our ancestors to be great fodder for conversations. You just never know until you listen!
In the case of my Czech genealogy I can recite volumes about home villages, chain migration patterns, early neighborhoods, the brewery industry, the beauty that is knedliky, and a multitude of other Czech minutia. When it comes to my Cornish ancestry I can talk about our Phillipps parishes from the 1400s, the mining industry of Cornwall, migration patterns, heraldry, Parliament, and naturally the delicious Cornish pasty ad infinitum (or ad nauseam as my wife tends to remind me). My wife loves it when I carry on with information on her Italian heritage and all the genealogy information I have learned about her family, her ancestral villages, the differences between civil and parish records, the surnames change edicts that took place in Italy, and of course the marvels of gnocchi.
I give the above personal examples to illustrate how important it is for us, as genealogy fans, to listen, listen, listen and be well rounded in our responses. It will only be by listening closely that we will be able to pick up on the subtle hints and perceive the proper path to follow with each person to draw them in deeper and deeper into our love of genealogy.
It may be difficult at times and seem counterintuitive, but it is THE way to fan the embers of a fire in someone who may then be the one who will carry our genealogy and family history torch after our time!
Onward To Our Past®