Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I do When I'm not Doing Genealogy...

The Presence of the PastThe Presence of the Past by Roy Rosenzweig

Wow. This book gave very good insight into how Americans viewed the concept of "History" and the Past. I was not surprised to learn as a genealogist that most Americans valued the beliefs and oral history of family members over books, TV, and "experts," especially around National events. They believed family members who had "been there" and "seen firsthand" what happened during these events were the most credible sources. This is a recurring theme in the genealogy world.

A very surprising theme, however, was that most Americans believed that the History they learned in school was rubbish and a waste of time. HOWEVER, today they believe it is IMPERATIVE that their child go through the same process in school today and they propose no changes to the curriculum.


  1. I can sort of understand this - I never enjoyed history in school (except California history in fourth grade). My husband the history buff made it more interesting for me, and now because of genealogy I am really into history. I think that approaching history through genealogy and local history, with emphasis on the "detective" aspect, might make it more interesting for students.

  2. Greta,
    I agree, I think it's great that more History Classes are incorporating family history/genealogy/family trees into their curriculum at several grade levels, including college. I was never exposed to this in the 80s and 90s when I was in school.