My 8th grade son must complete a family heritage album for his history class by May 2013. I love genealogy but it makes his eyes glaze over (as well as many of my extended family). My mission is to find ways to make this a fun assignment. Rather than just names and dates in a family tree, I want to make his ancestors come alive. Please comment with any ideas you have!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Marrying Across Boundaries
While we were at Polka Fest, we sat at the same table with a very friendly older woman who had a Czech heritage. I brought up the fact that I had an ancestor from both the Czech side and from the Slovak side of the border. She said that there was a big difference between the two. I had already read a little about why Czechoslovakia had broken apart, and how the Czechs were typically more educated while the Slovaks were typically more rural. So I didn't press her for details, partly out of a defensiveness that she might put down my Slovak ancestors. When we discussed it later as a family, I wondered if marrying across ethnic boundaries put a strain on my great great grandparents' marriage. After 6 children, Joannes Turanek abandoned Helene in Slovakia, came to Chicago and married a second woman (who specified her birthplace as Germany). That conversation seemed to engage my son, speculating on the influence of prejudices & stereotypes in this situation. Score one point for the genealogist mom :)