Does Your Research Impact Your Family?

I am not asking about the facts, we all find some fact that will interest the family a little bit. I’m talking about all you do in your research. Going to cemeteries, going to see old homesteads and visiting the little towns your family came from.

If it’s a good day, one of my kids might head out to a local cemetery with me. My youngest seems to have the gift of luck, when looking for a new, to us,  gravesite, I love to have her with me. Whether I am searching for a family member or assisting in a Random Act of Genealogy Kindness, I want her with me. The older two of my kids, they will go if it is family and then I usually add a new grave or two for someone else.

However, this past week I had a nice surprise. My son is on spring break (he goes to school out-of-state) and he told me he planned to drive to Virginia with a friend. I thought nothing of it and told him to be careful and keep me updated on his travels. As a mom, I am ok with his wanting to experience things for himself. I just want to know they are safe. We have lost family members to terrible accidents and I just need to know he has made it to his destination. I do not think it is asking too much, no matter how old he is. If I am on a road trip, I let people know, my Mom, Mother-in-law and then whoever I am going to see. Someone will know where I am. Plus, I also call and let them know I have made it there successfully and when I plan to be home. Call it consideration for those I love and those that love me.

Well, my son calls and tells me he made it to VA. It was a brief call, the reception was terrible. All I really understood was he was there, and could I find him a cheaper hotel room. I told him to text me with where he was and information on his hotel.

After I completed what I had been doing, I checked out his text and found out he was in Blacksburg, VA. Hmm, got my head churning. I know I have family, alive, in that area. I send him a quick text to let him know there is family in that area and his reply is, “Do you want me to take pictures and do you need me to go to the cemetery?”

Ah, the child of a genealogist! What a great thing, knowing we need something from a cemetery before we even ask. Now, to be honest, the family that I have there is my grandfather’s sister and her husband. The last of the family and I have not been in contact with them since the early 2000’s.

I did some quick searches on the internet and found an obit for the great-aunt that had died in that area. From there, I headed over to VAGenWeb and found an index listing of burials. After finding the cemetery information, I sent a text to my son and he replied that he would go the next day.

His friends must have thought he was nuts! He sent me the pictures I requested of the burial site and the name of the cemetery. I called and thanked him and told him to thank his buddy that drove him there. I asked if his friends thought I was nuts, he said “I told them you have a thing for cemeteries and dead people.”

I laughed and said to him that if he explained that I was a genealogist it would probably make more sense to them. He advised that he did and the friends thought it was cool that you could find records to trace the family lines.

A seed has been planted in these 20 year olds that hopefully will sprout in their future. It is obvious that my genealogy journey has impacted the life of my children, even if they did not want it to. I hope that his friends have been impacted as well.



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  1. Great post and what a great idea to write about! I know my kids lives have been changed from what I do. They are surrounded by history and genealogy every day so that have come to accept it as normal. I can’t get them to go to old cemeteries quite as much these but they are still spending a lot of time in old houses. It will be fun to see how it plays out when they become adults.

    1. Marian, I am certain that some aspect of what we all do will have some sort of affect on our children. I am hoping that my son will be the one that picks up my research one day. Though he threatens that he will throw it all away. When I get letters from new found family members, he is the one that sits and listens as I read the hand written letter. Then, we will discuss what that person has lived through.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  2. My 4 year old has been to several cemeteries with me. Some he slept through, and some he ran through. He’s always where I can see him and there’s rarely anyone else there. I’m sure some time my son will ask something similar. I laughed. This is a great article.

    1. Thanks Beth, Its great that you take him now. When he gets older there will never be a question of the respect due to those that rest there.
      We (hubby and I) went to a cemetery over in the fall that tis supposed to be haunted. There was a young family in there. The cemetery itself is in bad shape, but people are trying to get it fixed up. Anyhow, this family had 2-3 young kids and we talked with them a bit. It was great to see that they were being taught so young.
      I only remember going to the cemetery a few times as a child and love that others take their kids. Must of them are truly beautiful with a lot of history.

  3. Love this story! It’s great that your son is so receptive to helping you. So far none of my kids have ever made an offer like that, but your experience gives me hope. You never know what effect it might have had on your son’s buddies, too. Great job planting those seeds!

    1. Thanks Shelly,
      Honestly I was beyond shocked he offered. When he is home from school, if I ask him to run somewhere with me, the first question he asks is if it involves a cemetery so that he can tell me “NO.”
      Hope that these seeds are deeply planted within him and maybe the friends now.
      As for your kids, give it time!

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