Connect To The Youth In Your Family By Connecting Them To Their Family History

Friday, December 28, 2012

And She Scores Part 2

I was able to see these sites and find these documents last February.  But it was slightly melancholy for me because I couldn't share it with my kids.  But today I was able to bring it all full circle.  Today I was able to share with my kids the great fun of finding the long talked about Trefusis Farm and showing them the amazing documents of their family history.

In the morning we walked around to see the two churches in Taunton where my ancestors were married.  St. Mary Magdelene Church is where my Great-great-great-grandfather Robert Gibbs Carpenter married my Great-great-great-grandmother Maria Wright on the 25th of August 1829.  We were hoping to catch a service at St. Mary's but for some reason the regular service there was closed.

And my 6th great-grandparents Thomas Carpenter and Jane Rugg were married on the 27th of December in 1737 at St. James Church.  We were there exactly 275 years after their marriage.  I didn't even realize that we were going to be there on their anniversary.  What serendipity.  And miraculously the kids smiled for the pictures and everything.

We headed out to the Somerset Heritage Centre and I was really glad I had already been there.  I was able to take them straight to the good stuff.  And in the best of all possible worlds, I'm scheduled to go back for the Who Do You Think You Are conference in February so I know I'm going to get another shot at research in this archive.  So I didn't need to research, we could just treat the archive like a museum and show the kids the good stuff.  If possible, I highly recommend the miraculous way that turned out.  Go yourself to check the places out, take the kids, and then go back more for real research later.  You could combine the first and the last parts, but it was really beautiful walking out of that archive without the longing of being able to go back and do more research.

My younger son was the most enthused about the documents.  I got to show them the wills from 1721 and 1753.  "These are older than the Declaration of Independence!"  He helped me hold several of them down so that I could get good pictures of them.  It was really amazing to get to hold them and see the wax seals.  We tried to be really gentle with them so that they would be still be available for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  But nothing can compare to real hands on family history.

From there we went out to Bradford on Tone.  It was just so sweet for me to be able to take them there.  We hunted around the church yard for gravestones.  I told them I'd pay out a reward for anyone who could find one of our ancestors.  I would have paid good money for that since our last ancestor to be buried there was in 1812.  I knew there weren't any gravestones there but I was hoping for a miracle.  It got the kids involved but unfortunately they didn't find anything.  We had called the night before and the caretaker said St Giles church was going to be open but we were foiled again.  We tried to get ahold of several people but no one was available to open the church.  No matter, it was brilliant to be there. 

We walked down to the 13th century bridge between the church and the farm.  Our ancestors definitely would have crossed this bridge many times on their way to the village.  One of  the kids said "Now that's bridging the generations.."  Good grief.  

We had lunch at the White Horse Inn across from the church.  I absolutely loved the slow service and the time to sit and enjoy being in this town with my kids.  We relaxed and enjoyed each other's company.  It was a really sweet moment for me. 

We went down to the farm and took a quick picture with the real trefusis sign.  My dad and my sister have both been out to the farm and had nice conversations with the people who live there but I didn't want to bother them.  We drove around a little and then started back towards London. 

The kids were typical teenagers.  They were good-natured and even when I made them hold up the genealogy chart for a picture I didn't get complaining.  But I don't know how much really sunk in.  I want them to relish in it,  My overzealousness probably shut down some of their own enthusiasm and put them into "Oh Mom" mode.  But I do think they felt it more than they would ever tell me.  I'm sure they were happy to make me so happy.  I'm sure I'll hear about how inspiring it all was about the time they hit their 30s.  

This is really the story of investing your children coming full circle.  My Grandparents had that Brigadoon-esque Trefusis sign over their doorway when I was a little girl and that inspired my curiosity.  Today I got to take my kids to that place and invest the next generation in their family's history.  Hopefully I've planted some seeds that will take root in future years too. 

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