My name is E Lawson and I started this site.
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Craigie Family Tree!







[  “kay-u-(d)t  – meel-uh –  falshuh”  ]

~ "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes" ~


An Old GaelicWelcoming BlessingFor You:

~ ~ ~ May you always find three welcomes ~ ~ ~

In a garden in the summer ~ at a fireside during the winter ~

~ and whatever the day or season, in the kind eyes of a friend …

Ceud Mille Failte!


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Current # of Individuals Entered in Our Craigie Family  extended-Tree:

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as of:  February 2013

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One of my favorite sayings,and most closely held concept and belief in all the world is that: 

We are all part of one big family on this planet we live on – that we are all brothers and sisters together in this world we live in – and as such, we all need to respect and help one another, because in the long-run it only benefits all of us…

Many Native American cultures:  have long held this view of interrelatedness…

There is a saying in the Dakota/Lakota (Sioux) language to reflect this

interconnectedness & inclusion of all:

+“Mitakuye Oyasin”  +

interpreted as:All my relations

meaning:  We are all related


COLLECTIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE that I am aware of [so far] ~

~~~ let me know of any I’ve missed including in the list:



Italian Culture

Canadian & French Canadian




Chippewa (Ojibwe)  - ~Sault Ste. Marie Tribe




Mexican Culture


Tell Us A Story About Your Branch of the Family Here:( …aspiring writers: Practice Here…:o)

…help us fill in any missing pieces.. Post info about yourethnic heritage &/or nationality  to forum message boards (Activities tab) if your ancestry is not included above &/or anything interesting – facts/ places/ norms/ cultural stories/ folk tales – (to fill in our family story) that you may know about your own cultural origins…     

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Family news
Nov 11, 2017
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Oct 21, 2017
E Lawson updated the details of <Private> Lawson (born Gusick) in family tree FamilyTreeCraigie
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Sep 13, 2017
LeeAnn Coon joined another family site: Hemminger Web Site
Sep 02, 2016
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Aug 22, 2015
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Aug 16, 2015
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Aug 15, 2015
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Nov 29, 2014
Kathryn Louise Wick joined another family site: Wickerham Web Site
Apr 09, 2014
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Mar 19, 2014
Melissa Anne Amyoni (DePottey) updated the details of <Private> Amyoni in family tree FamilyTreeCraigie
Melissa Anne Amyoni (DePottey) commented on person <Private> Amyoni :
 It's actually Jonathan Parker 
Oct 20, 2013
Clifford Craigie updated his profile.
Sep 06, 2013
E Lawson published a new version of the FamilyTreeCraigie family tree from the Family Tree Builder
Apr 27, 2013
E Lawson invited LeeAnn Coon to the site.
Apr 07, 2013
E Lawson said: HAPPY 31st ANNIVERSARY to my sister & brother-in-law Christine & Terry Keller... Love, Ellen
Apr 06, 2013
E Lawson invited Christine Suzanne Keller to the site.
submitted a request to become a member.
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News articles
Genealogy:10 Ways to Get Kids (& Family) Involved in Family History - ancestry.com article
Posted by: E Lawson on Apr 25 2010 14:39
--hey-- this article gave me some ideas...what if we make a family movie, audio history, or big family tree (a cool physical, eye-catching family tree conversation-piece that can visit each family for a time on rotating basis & start a new family tradition) next time we have a reunion...? ...'whatdoyouthink'...? post comments...
0 Comments|14 Views|View full article
Genealogy:Why Do I Care About Those People? They Are Dead.
Posted by: E Lawson on Nov 5 2009 16:50
0 Comments|10 Views|View full article
Genealogy:Leaving Your Trail of Genealogical Crumbs
Posted by: E Lawson on Nov 5 2009 16:47
...for posterity...for our children's, children's children...?
0 Comments|12 Views|View full article
Genealogy:Getting the Whole Family Involved in Family History
Posted by: E Lawson on Nov 5 2009 16:43
*This may be interesting...for each of us to play a part...? What may be your role?
0 Comments|10 Views|View full article
Genealogy:Movies That Inspire Family History
Posted by: E Lawson on Nov 5 2009 16:38
Movie Recommendations-- As you read this list, do any other movies come to mind?? Why not post some of your own recommendations in the Comment section below, or on our myHeritage.com Message Board (Activities Tab above) for other family/member's consideration...
0 Comments|8 Views|View full article
Family stories:Great-Grandma's Travels - Remembrances of Mary Westwater Campbell (1772-1865)
Posted by: E Lawson on May 18 2009 23:18

Great-Grandma’s Travels

The remembrances of Mary Westwater Campbell (1772 – 1865)

Mary Westwater, born in Scotland (b. 12 Jan 1772, d. 05 Jun 1865), was the daughter of Peter Westwater and his second wife, Janet Wilson Westwater. She was married in Crail, Fifeshire, Scotland on August 14, 1797 to Archibald Campbell (b. 01 Dec 1771, d. 18Feb1804) of St. Andrews/Fife, Scotland. Together they had three daughters: Jane, Mary, and Ann.Mary Campbell, their middle daughter, was married on the 30th of June, 1829 by a Reverend William (Alexander) Walker in Elgin, Morayshire to our direct ancestor from Belnaboth, Parish of Towie, District of Alford, Aberdeenshire: Dr. William Craigie (b. 11Mar1799, d. 10 Aug 1863).

This story, as told to one of our relatives who visited the Campbell’s in Scotland, comes from the descriptive excerpts of the travel journal of Mary Westwater Campbell and is a true account using her words in the speech of the time (clarifications for readers of geographic places, words, times, etc. are shown inside [ brackets ], are that of the transcriber). It takes place in Europe (circa 1792 or 1793), during the turbulent period leading up to the “Time of Terror” of the French Revolution (1789 – 1799).

Figure 1 - Scotland

Left Leith [ Midlothian County-near Edinburgh, Scotland ] on board a Trader bound for London on Christmas Day, either of the year 1792 or 1793; in charge of two nieces whose mother, my half sister, was dead.

Their father, Lieutenant & Quartermaster Douglas of the 53rd Regiment, was at that time in service abroad, and wished his daughters to be placed in a Convent for their education and also that he might have a chance of seeing them sometimes. We arrived in London after a passage of a fortnight [ two weeks ]; which was about the usual time in those days. There were several passengers on board, among them was a foreigner who fell or pretended to fall in love with me and although I had scarcely spoken to him, insisted, upon leaving the vessel, to get a lock of my hair – which I was obliged to give to get rid of him.

The Captain of the ship took us to an Inn where we refrained for three days. I saw little of London as I was scarcely out, unless at the offices of the agents of the Regiment – Greenwood Company, which I think was in or near the Exchange. Left London, for Dover by stage, nothing occurred remarkable during the journey. We sailed at night from Dover to Ostend[ Belgium ] by the passage boat. Had a most fearful, stormy passage, none on board ever expected to see land. A lady and her two children were in the cabin with me. We could hear an officer who was going to his regiment, cursing at a fearful rate. It was awful to hear him and would have been so at any time, but it was more so when we were all thinking that every minute might be our last. We reached Ostend[ Belgium ]at last, for which we were very thankful.

Figure 2 - Belgium

We had letters of introduction to a Mr. Kirkpatrick, the British Consul at Ostend, who, with his wife, received us very kindly. He was from Dumfriesshire [ Scotland ], and I think must have been Grandfather or Granduncle to Eugenie, Empress of France. We remained with them a few days. They live in good style. They had one son, a little boy, who always gave us his toast, “The Duc-de-York.” They played cards on Sunday and were not pleased that I would not join them in the game. They would have gone to the “Theatre” had it not been a bad day. They taught me on the other evenings to play vingt-un [ ? ] at which I gained.

We left Ostend for Ghent [ now Gent or Gand in Belgium ], by barge, which is a very pleasant way of traveling, one would not know one was moving. The barge was a very handsome one and we had a grand dinner on board. We went the first day to Bruges [ Belgium ] where we were to stay overnight. Upon going to the hotel to which we were directed, we could not get admission as it was quite full, but the people sent us to another where we were pretty comfortable, although we had to share a room with another lady.

Went in board the barge in the morning and reached Ghent in the afternoon. We had a letter from Mr. Kirkpatrick to the Hotel Royale, where we went on arrival. It was a very fine hotel, situated on the Grande Place. While there, we saw from the window, a large body of troops reviewed by the Duke of York. There were several bands of music, which was delightful. We dined at the Table d’Hotel, which was generally very crowded.

Upon hearing that the 53rd Regiment was at Oudenarde [now Audenarde, Belgium], we set out for that place by stage – when about halfway we met Mr. Douglas coming up to Ghent – when we turned back along with him. We had lodgings in the house of a Madame Willard. She had a great many lodgers, but though we had rooms to ourselves, we all dined together. She had a billiard table. Mr. Douglas remained only a short time. There was a Mr. Cooper there from Fife [ Scotland ], who knew Mr. Douglas and was very kind. He was Commissary there – he made us, after awhile, go to the Citadel. There was a Mrs. & Miss Cole there. Mr. Cole was Adjutant. Captain Edwards of the 53rd, who was there in bad health was also kind. He took us to a Monastery in the neighborhood to see the fine grounds and beautiful gardens, where there were orange trees laden with fruit and other fine fruits, but the Monks offered us none.

There came an alarm that the French were coming – I remember standing, looking out and seeing the people flying about, some left the town. The gates of the town were locked and no one got out or in for some weeks. It was while we were at Madame Willard’s that this happened – after which we were at the Citadel. We often saw the Host[ Holy Communion, bread in the Eucharist ] carried through the streets. One day we saw a procession of nearly 100 priests carrying it from church to church. All the people knelt as it passes. Miss Cole made Jane Douglas kneel; Ann would not. Jane said to her, “Oh, I pity you Ann, the ghost will take you tonight.” I went to a Convent to inquire if they would take the two children and me as boarders, which the Abbess refused. She would have taken the children but not me.

Another alarm came, when all who could fled, I saw the officers setting off on the horseback. The Coles left in their own conveyance. I could hear of no means of escape, unless I took an ammunition wagon. I applied to an officer whom I met, a Captain Carmichael, he told me to take it and to take the blankets from the Citadel to keep us warm as it was better for us to take them than to leave them for the French. I thought myself well off when I was without walls when I saw roads covered with people on foot, men, women and children who had left all they had. But it was time to fly for when I was standing on the ramparts, I heard the sounds of the cannon firing at Tournay [ now Tournai, Belgium ]. We reached Oudenarde in safety and went into lodgings kept by an old man and his daughter. The Coles were there also and Captain Edwards too – he came every night to tea. He went in the regiment by the name of the ‘little Turriff,’ having come from that place [ maybe Turneff Island, British Honduras? ].

Oudenarde is a small place, not to be compared with Ghent. The country is beautiful, I never saw such cornfields. I was in Oudenarde for a couple months. We were always in fear of the enemy coming and had everything ready. When we went to bed, I put all our clothes in order on a chair in case of alarm.

The alarm came at last – we were thankful to get away in a boat for Antwerp [Belgium], which we reached after a slow sail. We were billeted in Antwerp in the house of a gentleman – one of the first gentleman [ of the gentry/ lesser nobility ] in the place. They had a beautiful house and a number of servants. They also had a carriage. The lady and the gentleman spoke very good English. He always made me sit beside him at dinner and spoke English to me. They had a family all grown up and away. Jane and Ann Douglas got a great many of their toys. Mynheer Carmikon was the name. The Coles were billeted with another great family. The walls of the rooms were all hung in silk. We went a good deal about and saw through the town in which there were some beautiful buildings, among others we saw the Grand Cathedral, which was too fine for me to describe. The paintings were beautiful – the children were much taken with a picture of Sampson, with the gates of Gaul [ Roman Gaul – name given, in ancient times, to the area of provincial rule consisting of what would become modern day France, Belgium, Luxembourg,nothern Italy, western Switzerland, and western Germany ] on his back.

We were a good while in Antwerp but were again obliged to fly. The gates were shut and none allowed to leave but the English. When we reached them, they were opened for us and we got away in a government sloop for Rotterdam [ Netherlands ]. I remember now, that when we left Ghent, I had charge of 300 Guineas for Mr. Douglas who was at Oudenarde. They were sewed into a scarlet sort of belt and fastened round my waist. When wewere in the wagon, the man who drove it had Figure 3 -Netherlandsto lift us out and I was afraid he would suspect from the

weight that I had something hidden upon me, but he did not. We then got into a little boat which we took across a river to a small village, of which I do not recollect the name, where Mr. Douglas came to meet us and took us over to Oudenarde and I was glad to get rid of the money. Mr. Douglas left us at Oudenarde and we never saw him again. I remember also that while at Oudenarde, Captain Edwards, who was there in bad health, got an order to join his regiment. He had nothing more that would pay his lodgings and he had no means of getting money on the instant, so I lent him a guinea [ about £1.05 in todays money – a guinea was considered a more gentlemanly amount than £1 – Tradesmen, such as carpenters, were paid in pounds but gentlemen, such as artists, in guineas. ]but never saw sight of it again. I saw his sister afterwards in Edinburgh [ Scotland ], she had lodgings in St. Andrews Square. We drank tea with her, but of course, I did not mention the pound.

Although the distance between Antwerp and Rotterdam is not great, we were three weeks on the way – Captain Gillingham having orders to wait for the convoy. At Rotterdam, we lodged in the house of an English woman but her husband was Dutch. She took me to the Scotch Church, where a Mr. Scott preached. We sat in the low part of the church and I remember seeing a number of grand ladies in the gallery, they all had large green fans in their hands but no bonnets on their heads. I went also to a Synagogue, where through a grating in the gallery, I saw the Jewish at worship.

Rotterdam, I thought a pretty place and very clean, canals bordered with trees in the streets. I went to see the butchers market, which is beautifully clean – the tables set out in rows, covered with clean, white cloths. The meat looked so fresh and nice. I was about a fortnight in Rotterdam. There were other lodgers in the house among others an English lady and her daughter. We drank tea on board of a Dutch ship of war – the Captain’s wife was English. We all went out to walk – the people stared at me and said, “Anglaise” – I had a bonnet on and all the others had nothing on their heads but had large fans or parasols.

We sailed for Leith [ in Midlothian County, near Edinburgh, Scotland ] in a Scotch ship, commanded by a Captain Henderson. We were more than a fortnight on the way. Mr. Douglas had packed up all our valuables along with all our clothes, unless what we were requiring while on board and sent them along with the baggage of all the other officers that they could spare to come back to this country [ Scotland & England ], but it was all taken at Helvictstrop [sp? unknown place ]. Petitions were sent to the government by the officers to get something by the way of restitution – I do not know if anybody got anything, but we never did. We were disappointed on arriving at Leith to find nothing awaiting us – a good deal of plate and other things were lost, among other things, Mrs. Douglas’ gold watch and all her trinkets.

We were not long in Edinburgh, Mr. Douglas wished us to go to Crail, in Fifeshire as he intended leaving the army as he possible could and taking a farm in the neighborhood as he liked that part of the country and wished to be near his friend, Captain Rankin, who lived at Burnsmuir [ ? unknown place ], about three miles from us in Crail. Mrs. Rankin was written to, to ask her to take lodgings for us in Crail, which she declined to do, but very kindly asked us to pay them a visit and to look for lodgings ourselves. We accordingly went to Burnsmuir, where we were very kindly received. Captain Rankin was a very handsome man, I recollect there was a full-length picture of him in the drawing room. They had a son and three daughters. The son went into the Navy and fell overboard and was drowned. The daughters had a governess. The eldest is mentioned in the memoirs of Dr. Chalmers as his first love – I think she married a farmer and the other two married clergyman. We went into lodgings at Crail. One evening, soon after I was dressed and ready to go out to tea and took up a newspaper until it would be time to go – you may believe what a shock I got upon seeing the death of Mr. Douglas mentioned. There was no visiting for me that night. The poor children were left on my hands with very little means. We met with many kind friends, among others, the Countess of Kelly, who, with the Earl, lived at Camto House, close to Crail. The clergyman, Mr. Bell, was also very attentive – by his advice and that of some others, I applied to Colonel Matthews of the 53rd Regiment, whose excellent letters, I still have in my possession, to get the children put upon the compassionate list. He applied to General Lake then in the Household of the Prince of Wales, through whose interest they were at last placed on it.

We remained in Crail about three years, when we left it upon my being married – for Musselborough in the parish of Inveresk in Midlothian County – of which place Dr. Carlyle, whose autobiography has lately been published, was minister. He baptized my two daughters [ Jane Beatson Campbell, 13Oct1798 and Mary Campbell, 13Feb1800 ]. We then came to Elgin [Morayshire, Scotland ]where I have lived ever since, and have no more travels to tell of.

Captain Douglas and his wife had been stationed at Quebec [ Canada ] for awhile and on their way back to Scotland, a son was born, whom they baptized Neptune Blood Douglas – Neptune because he was born at sea and Blood after the Captain of the ship. He died young.

Ann Douglas married Mr. Sutherland, and Jane Douglas never married.

~ ~Mary Westwater Campbell

Transcribed by: Ellen Lawson, June 1993


Dates / Names
Peter Westwater and Janet Wilson Westwater

B: 12 Jan 1772


1792/93 – 1794:

Journey with Jane and Ann Douglas to Belgium/Netherlands


Return to Scotland – settled in Crail, Fifeshire, Scotland / 3 yrs.

M: 13 Aug 1797

Married Archibald Campbell of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Moved to:

Fisherowe, Musselborough, Inveresk, Midlothian with husband, who was an Excise Officer/ Supervisor there. 3 children born:

3 Children:

1. Jane Beatson Campbell, (b. 13 Oct 1798)

2. Mary Campbell, (b. 13 Feb 1800), married Dr. William Craigie of Belnaboth, Parish of Towie, District of Alford, Aberdeenshire on June 30, 1829

3. Ann Campbell, (b. 06 Mar 1802)

D: 05 Jun 1865

Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland

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Family stories:Dr. William Craigie - Entry in Canadian Biographical Dictionary
Posted by: E Lawson on Sep 3 2007 22:36

William Craigie: Entry published in:

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol IX

Library and Archives of Canada

CRAIGIE, WILLIAM,physician and educationist; baptized 11 March 1799 at Belnaboth, parish of Towie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of William Craigie and May Ness; m. Mary Campbell, and they had nine children; d. 10 Aug. 1863 at Hamilton, Canada West.

William Craigie studied at Marischal and Aberdeen colleges in Aberdeen, the University of Edinburgh, and Trinity College, Dublin. In 1820 he became a licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and established a medical practice at Midclova in the parish of Kildrummy, Aberdeenshire. He published in 1828 a paper on tracheotomy in the EdinburghMedicalandSurgicalJournal.

Craigie immigrated to Upper Canada in 1834 and settled in Ancaster. After successfully appearing before the Medical Board of Upper Canada in April 1835, he was licensed to practise medicine. Soon after he arrived he also began working for the improvement of education and joined with others to found a school, the Ancaster Literary Institution, which opened in 1837. They hoped to provide a better quality of education than that available in the common schools. Craigie was secretary of the institution and corresponded with the council of King’s College and later the Committee of Commissioners on Education seeking financial support for the school. In a submission to a committee appointed by Lieutenant Governor Sir George Arthur* to investigate education in the province, he advocated in 1839 a normal school for the training of teachers, provincial funding of education, and the establishment of village common and district grammar schools with varied curricula which would include reading, writing, arithmetic, classics, modern languages, and mathematics. He also proposed adequate salaries and superannuation for teachers, good Canadian textbooks, non-denominational religious instruction, and a central board of education for Canada West with subsidiary boards for each municipal district.

In 1845 he moved to Hamilton where he soon became a leader in educational, cultural, and scientific affairs. As school trustee he was largely responsible for the opening in 1853 of the Hamilton Central School despite strong opposition from William Munson Jarvis and the Reverend John Gamble Geddes* who favoured establishing common schools in each ward. Craigie organized in 1850 the Hamilton Horticultural Society, an offshoot of the mechanics’ institute, of which he was a director. He was a member of the Board of Arts and Manufactures for Upper Canada and an elder of the Presbyterian Church. The meteorological records he had kept since coming to Canada were published in Canadian periodicals, and he contributed monthly meteorological reports to the HamiltonSpectator for a number of years. In 1854 he published a list of indigenous plants of the Hamilton area, a pioneer effort compiled for the Hamilton Scientific Association of which he was first recording secretary.

Dr Craigie was popular and respected both as a scholar and as a physician, and in 1861 he was appointed medical referee for the Canada Life Assurance Company. He was one of the attending physicians at the deathbed of Sir Allan Napier MacNab just a year before his own death in 1863. He appears in a contemporary cartoon, “A Grave Scene,” which depicts the struggle of the Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy over MacNab’s body; Craigie is shown in the eccentric garb he wore in later years and with the “twa dogs” who were always at his heels.

Katharine Greenfield

William Craigie was the author of “Case in which tracheotomy was successfully performed,” EdinburghMedicalandSurgicalJournal, 29 (1828), 83–85; “Mean results for each month of eleven years, (1835 to 1845 inclusive), of a register of the thermometer and barometer, kept at Ancaster, C.W.,”BritishAmericanJournalofMedicalandPhysicalScience (Montreal), II (1846–47), 7–9; “Meteorological observations at Hamilton,” CanadianJournal, II (1853–54), 187–88; and “List of indigenous plants found in the neighbourhood of Hamilton, with the dates of their being found in flower and examined,” CanadianJournal, III (1854–55), 222–23. DocumentaryhistoryofeducationinU.C. (Hodgins), III. “The late Dr. Craigie,” CanadianIllustratedNews (Hamilton, [Ont.]), II (1863), 174–75. Morgan, BibliothecaCanadensis. Canniff, MedicalprofessioninU.C. Hamilton Assoc. for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art, 100th anniversary, 1857–1957 (Hamilton, Ont., [1957]). Hamilton Horticultural Soc., Centennialyearbookandgardenguide, 1850–1950 (Hamilton, Ont., 1950). J. G. Hodgins, TheestablishmentofschoolsandcollegesinOntario, 1792–1910(3v., Toronto, 1910), I. J. H. Smith, TheCentralSchooljubileere-union, August, 1903, anhistoricalsketch (Hamilton, Ont., 1905). HamiltonSpectator, 19 June 1909.

© 2000 University of Toronto/Université Laval

28Aug2007- accessed online:http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=38496&query=May%20AND%20ness

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Genealogy:Why Genealogy Is Important For Children
Posted by: E Lawson on Sep 3 2007 21:52

Ancestry Daily News
Maureen A. Taylor – 2/6/2002

Why Genealogy is Important for Children

There are plenty of reasons why adults should be curious about family history, but what about children? Why should adults teach children about genealogy? I'm sure you have a few answers of your own.

My interest in genealogy and history began when I was about nine. At that point, there were no books written on the subject for kids. Instead I worked my way through Gilbert Doane's, In Search of Your Ancestors and followed his advice for about a year. It was a college history assignment that rekindled my interest in the topic and led to my working in the field. That's when I discovered that family history is a great way to teach children history-local, national and international. Over the years, as I worked with school groups, it became apparent there was still a lack of resources for children interested in genealogy.

When writing, Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors (Houghton Mifflin 1999), I interviewed professional genealogists and friends to find out about their childhood experiences with genealogy. They told me two things. First, that they found family history fascinating as children but didn't know how to go further with it, and second, that their grandparents played a pivotal role in their future as genealogists.

I bet many of you first became interested in the topic as children, but waited until you were adults before you started researching those names. Think of all the interviews you could've have conducted with relatives that are no longer alive. My grandmother never talked about her family, and I've been stuck on her parents for decades. If only I'd known what to ask. Perhaps that brick wall wouldn't exist.

So why get children involved with family history, and how do you do it? Let me give you a few reasons and suggestions.

1. It Provides Kids with a Connection
Every day in news we hear about children gone astray because they feel disconnected to their family and the world. As genealogists you know that families are endlessly fascinating. By filling in the blanks on the charts you discover that while all families are unique, researching your family is a personal detective story. You discover characteristics about yourself that you have in common with an earlier ancestor. For example, a musically talented child discovers that his great-grandfather played an instrument and sang in the church choir.

The news media also focuses attention on how different families are today than in past generations. As a genealogist I object. The variations in today's households are not that different than in previous centuries although they are talked about more.

For adoptees, research can help them connect to their adoptive family. This also means creating a sense of family by discussing the adoption process as well as why they were adopted (in age appropriate language), how you selected their names and teaching them about their heritage. If they know their birth name, adopted children can also research their birth family. Of course there are lots of different adoption stories, so think about how to establish that link using their history.

2. Pass on a Sense of History
At home, children need to have a sense of history. It's part of understanding who they are. This includes their own personal history as well as how world history influenced family decisions. Talk about what you did when you were their age, finding a common element. My children can't believe that their grandparent's lived without modern "necessities." This is basic history. When was television invented and when did you first experience it? What was your town like a few years ago or a century ago?

Ask them to keep a diary, write a memoir, take pictures, or create a scrapbook. The final format is whatever they would like to produce based on their own creativity. It could even be a comparison of what their life is like compared to another family member's life at their age.

History surrounds kids, but they don't think about it. They primarily live in the present. In my kid's case, they live for the moment without thought of what came before so I try to incorporate history into everyday life through ordinary tasks. It's difficult to talk about history without boring children and the same is true for family history. My son loves sports, but hates all the protective equipment. It only takes a moment to insert a comment about the lack of shin pads and helmets when I was a kid to get his attention. Instead of waiting for him to ask another question, I'll ponder out loud, "I wonder what {insert the sport} was like when Grandpa was a kid. I like to think of genealogy as the history of everyone in the family even pets. No detail is too small to mention. After all, the goal is keep kids a part of the family and create a future generation of genealogists.

3. Gives Them A Context in Which to Understand the World
There are common threads that reappear in every generation besides birth, marriage, and death. Ask any student how many times they've moved in their lifetime and what the readjustment was like and you have a context for mentioning immigration. Many children move at least once during their school years. The local high school uses census documents to teach about immigration and assimilation. Unless the children are immigrants, moving is something they can relate to. War is another current that runs throughout family history. What is your family's experience during wartime, the current one and past ones? Older children can interview people, research documents and write about their findings. This is part of what we do as genealogists. By teaching kids family history one step at a time, you have a chance of giving them a lifetime hobby.

4. It's An Intergenerational Activity
Have I convinced you yet that it's important to introduce children to family history? I hope so. If not, think about all the time you've spent accumulating documents, photographs, and artifacts from your family. Now, whom are you going to leave all that material to? Once you get a child curious about their family history and keep them interested you've found someone who's going to take care of your efforts. By the time I learned enough about family history, countless documents were lost, thrown out when someone died. Teaching children about family history, not only lets you work on an activity together it lets them experience genealogy first hand by working with various family members. As they save their heritage it builds a sense of responsibility. I've spoken with many genealogists who despair over the lack of relatives interested in their hobby. I'm basically a stubborn person; I just keep trying different methods to reach out to kids until I find something that works. You can too.

5. Future Members
Here's a pet peeve. Why don't more genealogical societies offer special memberships and programming for children? By educating a younger generation about family history you not only encourage them to become adult members but reach out to their parent's as well. The Boy Scouts have a genealogy badge, but once those boys start researching their history, where else can they go? Someday, a genealogical organization will see that their future is with the children. After all, not only are they potential members, but donors as well.

On a related topic, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a genealogy magazine for kids full of interesting projects, activities, and first-person stories? The projected market for these subscriptions and publications are not only children aged nine and up, but all the teachers that include family history in their classroom. In many states, genealogy is taught as part of the curriculum on understanding similarities and as well as social studies. Teachers use it in a variety of ways including math assignments, English, history and art. There is a way to use it to teach almost every subject, even science now that genetics is being studied. Genealogical societies shouldn't underestimate the need for memberships directed at children; it's a huge potential market.

I know that it's been said before, but investing in children is an investment in our future. I don't know who said it or why, but the same thought applies to genealogy. By spending time helping kids understand family history, all of us benefit. A little less history is lost and you've given them a sense of how the world works.

I would love to hear from more people who started their family history research as children. Please send me an email and let me know more about it.

Maureen A. Taylor, of www.TaylorandStrong.com and a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine is the author of Preserving Your Family Photographs (Betterway 2001) and Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs (Betterway 2000) as well as a guide to family history for kids, Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors (Houghton Mifflin, 1999). Her columns appear in New England Ancestors,Ancestry Magazine, and Family Tree Magazine. Her numerous television and radio appearances include The View, MSNBC, and DIY: Scrapbooking.

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