Walking The Genealogy Talk


I often see articles and discussions about how to get the younger generation interested in your genealogy research. This can be challenging but I want to tell you about something I did that just might have worked.

One of the things that got me interested in my family history was all the stories that my parents would tell us around the dinner table. One of my dad’s favorites was to tell us about walking to school. We use to tease him saying yea… yea dad we know… it was uphill both ways.

Fifteen years ago I decided to organize something I called; “Walk the Talk”. So I arranged that my siblings and their families would join together at my parent’s cottage and we would have a convoy over to the area that my dad was raised in.

It was a beautiful June “Father’s day” and we walked the 3 miles to the location where my dad had gone to school. The school was no longer there but that didn’t matter. One of the funny things my dad said was that it was easier than when he’d walked it as a child because when they’d built the road they’d trimmed off some of the tops of the hills.

On April 1st my father passed away and with all the things going on in the world we have been unable to have a celebration of life. We all have taken it hard but my son Jesse was extremely close to my dad and the fact that we haven’t done anything bothered him. So he came up with a plan.

A few weeks ago he created a Facebook event called “Hoofin it for Harv”. Here he explained that he and his cousin; Clayton had talked about the “Walk the Talk” that we’d done years ago and they had decided we should have it again to honor my dad. Everyone was invited.

Jesse made me a collaborator for the event so I took this as a perfect opportunity to teach those that are invited a bit about the Thompson family history. I’m thinking even if they aren’t directly connected they might still think it’s interesting to learn about the family.

So a few days after the event was created I posted this photo that I’d taken of the old barn. It was built in 1962 and it was still standing in 2005 and so far as I know is still standing today. (at least it was last year).

Then a few days later I posted this scan from a homestead document that I’d gotten from the Provincial Archives of Alberta and I gave a bit of information that I found in the file.

Harold and Gladys Thompson’s farm was located at SW Sec 27 Tp 56 Rge 1 W5th. Originally this homestead was in the name of Dalton Lamoureux, but he hadn’t made the necessary improvements, so his homestead application was canceled on September 9, 1933. On February 9, Harold wrote a letter asking if anyone had filed on the land, and if not, he’d like to file. On February 17, 1934, Harold and Gladys applied for the homestead. (Gladys would have been two months pregnant with Harvey). At the time they applied for the homestead, only 1 acre had been broken.
By June 11, 1934, the Homestead Inspector’s report stated that a pole fence had been put on 10 acres. 2 acres had been cultivated, and a 10×12 slab sheet building erected. In the general remarks, it was noted that they were building a new log house on the land. They moved into the house by June 30, 1934.
On the November 12, 1942, statement sent in by Harold he reports that he’d built a house in 1934 (value $300) Barn (value $250 this is not the barn in the previously posted) Grainary (value $25) 2 pig houses (value $20) He also said that his land had two wire fencing on all four sides. His livestock had grown from 3 cows and 3 horses in 1934 to 7 cows and 2 horses in 1938. 7 acres were now under cultivation. He also mentioned that 73 acres of the land were considered swampland.
On January 15, 1943, Harold was notified that a certificate of title was being issued for the homestead. This was the Thompson Farm and home to Harold and Gladys and their two sons; Harvey and Ken and two daughters; Betty and Carol.
Gladys lived there until she died in 1965, and Harold owned the land until he died in 1971. Ken Thompson purchased the family farm from the estate and kept it for several years.

Guess what at the same time I copied and pasted this into the book that I’m writing about my genealogy so the Facebook post served two purposes.

In a week or so I’ll be posting something else as we get closer to the date of the event. What this taught me is that the younger generation is listening and is interested in my genealogy I just need to present the story in an engaging way. How are you sharing your genealogy?