Monday, October 31, 2011

Outdoor Adventures: Family History - Graveyard Visit by Erin Uda

(Click HERE for image source)

This week we’re visiting a GRAVEYARD. A bit creepy, I know, but I thought it would be appropriate for the Halloween season.

(Click HERE for image source)

Most graveyards are peaceful, and have beautiful, artistic elements incorporated into the headstones or markers. And some, especially those that are older, feel more like cities than fields. The sepulchers look like houses, and entire families are buried there. Others, like the military graveyard in Arlington, have rows and rows of crosses or stars representing the vast number of soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom.

(Click HERE for image source)
Be sure to do some research before you go, so you choose an appropriate site. You can visit THIS slightly morbid, but incredibly interesting site to find graveyards nearby with famous (or slightly famous) residents. For instance, I learned that the man who invented disposable diapers is buried in the Provo, UT Cemetery!

If you have relatives buried nearby, make a special effort to visit their graves. Spend some time talking to your child about family and ancestors. Tell her about your family when you were little, and about a relative whom you loved and has since passed on. Has your child experienced loss yet? If so, this might be a good time to talk about it. If you like, leave a flower or other token on their grave before you go.

(Click HERE for image source)
If you don’t have family nearby, do your best to visit the oldest graveyard in your area. Look at the markers and headstones and try to discover something about the people there. Talk about how the world was different when they were alive and what their lives may have been like when they were little.

If it’s a nice day, take a picnic with you. Enjoy your meal in a beautiful, peaceful spot.

Graveyards are quiet places that allow us to see life from a different perspective. While you’re there, take a few minutes to sit and think about the things you want to accomplish in your life. How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone?

Activity- find the following:
  • A bench
  • Someone who was over 75 years old
  • Someone who was less than 5 years old
  • Someone born before 1900
  • A famous person
  • A picture or statue of an angel
  • A very old tree
  • Someone with the same first name
  • Someone you’re related to (if possible)
  • A poem

When you get home, try a few activities that focus on your family’s history.

Go through your family photos. Talk about each person in your family with your child and try to learn something new about them. Talk about where your ancestors lived and what things they would have done when they were younger.

If you have old family records or journals, read a few excerpts or act out a story you find.

Create a family tree. You can do this in so many fun, crafty ways. To make the standard version, write your child’s name on the left side of your paper; to the right make a sideways V with the open side facing away from the name. Now write the parents’ names, one at each point of the V. Continue to write names until you’re stumped.

If you have a lot of pictures of family members, try making a family collage in the general shape of a tree. Or just put them together in a book from the youngest to the oldest, grouped by families.

(Click HERE for image source)

If you live close enough to your relatives, try a thumbprint tree. It’s so cute to see everyone’s green thumbprints look like leaves at the ends of the branches. Click THIS link for a template.

If you’re interested in finding more names for your family tree, you can download FREE Personal
Ancestry File (PAF) software at THIS LINK. They also have a ton of ideas for finding more family names.
Recommended Reading:

  • The Kids’ Family Tree Book, Caroline Leavitt
  • Fancy Nancy: My Family History, Jane O’Connor
  • Me and My Family Tree, Joan Sweeney
  • Evie Finds Her Family Tree, Ashley B. Ransburg 

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