I was somewhat familiar with the reality type genealogy show as my cousins Boyd and Maile Mossman had been featured in previous episodes,
- Ask a compelling Why?. Who do want to become, Where did my ancestors get their strength, Is pessimism inherited? As a genealogist, we are taught to ask first ‘what do you want to find out’ like “I want to find grandma Sadie’s birth date” and then asking the question “Which sources might have that information?” Generations Project first step is going deeper to finding a reason deep within yourself on why this is important to know and finding the story of their legacy.
- Fill in the Tree. This part is familiar with anyone trying to trace their ancestry. It is filling in a pedigree chart or family tree chart with what you know and finding what you don’t know.
- Mix it with history. Now you explore the history of the time of the ancestor was alive. What was their life like, what did they eat, where did they live, what where the influences in their life?
- Walk in their shoes. Now here is where things are vastly different from other genealogy shows and from what we do as genealogists. I know I usually tend to keep things on an intellectual level. I know the facts, I know the history, but I haven’t tried to experience what their life was like. On the Generations Project they get the participants to ‘walk in their ancestors shoes’ to help them feel what their life was like. They did peat in Ireland, they walk behind a mule and plow a field in the sun, they go to the Leaper Colony and experience being separated by loved ones by a table and being unable to touch their own children. I loved that! I am going to add this to my genealogy toolbag. I want to experience more and not just read about my ancestors lives! Stay tune, because I am coming up with a great list, from learning how to hula to playing bagpipes. "You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never Rises from the soul, and sways The heart of every single hearer, With deepest power, in simple ways. You’ll sit forever, gluing things together, Cooking up a stew from other’s scraps, Blowing on a miserable fire, Made from your heap of dying ash. Let apes and children praise your art, If their admiration’s to your taste, But you’ll never speak from heart to heart, Unless it rises up from your heart’s space." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust. Urfaust, Faust I und Faust II)
- Share it and watch the ripple. After experiencing the Generations Project, the production staff have the participant immediately go off alone and record their feelings and thoughts in a journal, to capture those feelings right then and then share them with family and others and the lessons they learned. Watching the ripple effect of sharing what they have experienced. "Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards - the things we live by and teach our children - are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings." — Walt Disney Company
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.
It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."
— Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
©2011, Valerie Elkins