How to identify your end-of-line ancestors
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How to get your family excited about genealogy

I met and proposed to my wife in a Family History Center (two separate days). Naturally, I thought we would spend a life together researching each other's roots. I later found out that she was just there for the student employment (the Family History Center was in a library of a university) and had little interest in genealogy.

We still got married, and I am still trying to convince her to love genealogy as much as I do.

Over the years I have learned a few dos and don'ts for "persuading" my family that genealogy is fun. In fact, Legacy Family Tree has many tools that has made this task easier for me. I am working on an article to be used for a conference syllabus which explains some of these ideas. I hope you will read it and publish your comments here regarding what has worked for you.

Click here to download the article (891kb, pdf).


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All good ideas, Geoff. A report with blank lines for filling in missing information has worked sometimes. Fan charts got no response. Generally, getting information is like pulling teeth. They're too busy with the living and either don't get the point, have zero time to be interested, or think genealogy (digging up dirt) is in bad taste. A good story has occasionally elicited an ooh or aah, but I think they're just being polite. It doesn't help that I live far away from any one I could 'interview'. I get my biggest kick out of the reactions of the more distant cousins I share research with, although once in awhile I get a good surprise when a closer cousin finds my website and wants to contribute.

At our family reunions, everyone in a specific family sits together, so there isn't much mixing of various households. My cousin suggested we do a "get to know you" type form. So I went though my data and came up with 30 statements that pertained to one or more of the living or dead relatives, and typed out the "test". Each attendee was to find the person or persons to whom each statement pertained. We handed out the page as the people arrived, telling them there was a prize for the most correct matches. They LOVED it! Even the teenagers loved it (with a winning tie between 2 of them). Everyone spoke with the oldest to the youngest person there. They looked at the tree charts I had posted on the wall. They looked at old photos spread out on a table. They talked to everyone! My cousin and I gathered the sheets as everyone was eating and "graded" them. Then I read each statement and the complete answers. We honored our vets - living and dead. People found fellow alumni from their schools. And they wanted to know more about the "stories" - especially the statement "Who lived within 2 houses of Sylvester Stallone when they were children." So I had to tell them about him as a kid. It was fun, and people stayed longer, and we had many compliments.

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