28 September 2010

Tel Aviv: Family Festival - Day 2

Whoever says that children are not interested in family history has never been to a festival like this.

Today is the third day of the "One Family, Many Faces" family festival at Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv.

Each day has seen crowds of families to the MyHeritage.com bank of 50 computers and a team of 15 experts. The plan was to provide each family with a 30-minute consultation on how to set up a family tree on MyHeritage.com. Over the first two days, some 950 new trees were created!

Yesterday, I spoke to several families as to why they were here, why family history was important to them, why they brought their children.

A family with roots in Libya brought their two young sons. The mother's family tree with many photos is already on the site. They were at a computer to show the children the online tree and add information. Why were they here?

The father smiled and just pointed to his boys: "We want them to know their history."

A jovial grandfather came on the first day with one set of grandchildren, and came again yesterday with another set. He came by our desk and said "I'm baaack!" I'm not sure if he's coming again with more of them!

A young woman with family roots in Baghdad brought her young niece, 6: "We don't know much beyond my grandparents," she said, "but I'm trying to learn more." She asked where she might find more information on resources; I provided a few leads.

The more questions I asked her, the more she asked me: "Why are you so interested in family history? Why are others so interested? I mentioned some of the reasons we want to learn about our family, and stressed my belief  that learning - every day - about new resources, databases, books and more to increase our knowledge kept our brains active and absorbing. Long ago, my pediatrician aways said to us "resting is rusting."

While we were talking, one of the MyHeritage team was helping the niece fill in names. I asked her if she was having a good time. "Fantastic!" she said.

A woman with roots in Hamadan, Iran brought her grandchildren. She came over to say how wonderful this event was for the younger generation, to connect with their history. We spoke in Farsi and we learned we knew each other's families in Teheran, Los Angeles and here. Her grandchildren kept coming over to ask her about details to put into their new tree.

The next post will detail some of the people who have visited the family history area!

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