Climbing Family Trees: Fun ways to get children involved in doing family history

Climbing Family Trees

More great stories, poems, and helpful hints about genealogy and searching for your family's roots from the twin authors of "Climbing Family Trees: Whispers In The Leaves"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fun ways to get children involved in doing family history

1. They know that at age 12, they will need some family names to taketo the Temple to do baptisms. They have to do the research themselves and submit the disc and everything. I have conveniently forgotten totell them that the Temple will provide names if they don't have anyfamily names ready to go. Of course, they figure that out on theirfirst trip to the Temple, but by then they already know how to do it. The Fam Hist Ctr isn't open Monday nights, but we've done researchover the internet together and had "how to use PAF" lessons for FHE.

2. I've made pedigree chart puzzles. Two kinds have worked -- a regular chart laminated and cut up and also a blank chart laminatedwith the names laminated seprately (put he names in the right spaceson the chart). It's important to make one for each child - they reallylike putting their own name on the chart! Somehow it totally loses itsappeal if your sibling is person number one.

3. Family Tree shirts. We all made matching T-shirts onto which we haddrawn trees with names. I copied the basic design from a baby book and we used fabric pens (from JoAnn Fabrics).

4. We have an occassional FHE dedicated to an ancestor or ancestralfamily group. Make a timeline of their life showing their personalactivities as well as historical factoids to put it in perspective (what was going on in US history? What inventions were new?). Show asample of their handwriting. Have kids try to copy it.

5. For a long time we had a huge paper chain family tree extendingback 5 generations. Each person was either dark or light pink or blue (showing gender and whether or not individual Temple ordinances werecomplete) and each family group was linked by either a black or whitepaper link (whether or not the family had been sealed). Whenever myhusband and I went to the Temple, the kids helped us swap out links to show the progress we had made. But eventualy, all we had left were thedark and black links for living family members who were not Churchmembers. We made the original link-tree as a FHE project. It waspretty messy (you couldn't just look at it and see the relationships), but if you found one particular link you could definitely follow thechain around to see how they were related to others.

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