I’m not hurting for projects — I’m mid-draft on a novel, and revisions on a couple of picture books are looming, and I’m figuring out how to put my post-election political energy to use, and here comes Christmas — but I’ve taken on a new one all the same.

Actually, my 8-year-old son and I are doing this one together: expanding on the family tree information I gathered when I was just a few years older than him, working on my Genealogy merit badge back in the mid-1980s. The technology and available data are light years ahead of what were available back then, so rather than dealing with the issue of frustratingly slow progress, he and I are both faced with the challenge of pacing ourselves and walking away from the computer when we just want to run one more query on familysearch.org.

He doesn’t know it, but in addition to increasing what we know about our ancestors, he’s also getting a taste of what it’s like to research a nonfiction book when the fresh discoveries are flowing. While he’s collecting facts about great- and great-great- and great-great-great-grandparents and -aunts and uncles, he’s also learning a little more about Dad.