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Kids and Genealogy

2014-04-26 08.27.26What a weekend I had! In addition to speaking at the Utah Genealogical Association conference, I got to do it with my 8-year-old son, Braden. This was his first genealogy conference, and he was a great helper at our Legacy Family Tree booth. He handed our brochures and stamped prize cards. He even attended one of my classes. Initially I couldn't figure out why he didn't want to attend my last three classes, but then I learned that he found that he could play the Angry Birds game at our booth when everyone else was in class. He learned some of the lingo - like pedigrees, descendancies, and ancestors. He thought it was funny to call me his ancestor. When I asked him what his favorite part was, he replied with "I got to miss a day of school."

Some of my fondest memories are of teaching genealogy to my children. Here is Evan finding his first death certificate on a microfilm reader at the Family History Library. He looked at it, looked at me, looked at it again, and looked at me again. Then he said, "Dad, I thought genealogy was boring. This is!" Priceless.

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This is Evan learning how to use Legacy:

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One of my kids' favorite outings is to head to the cemetery with the BillionGraves app in hand. Even my 5-year-old daughter enjoys pushing the green button on the camera (takes a picture of the headstone and publishes it to the BillionGraves website to be indexed).

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We tried to start Kaitlyn young. This is my wife, Tanya, doing a little FamilySearch Indexing while in labor with our daughter.

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While it is usually me who says "let's go find an ancestor" every once in a while one of them will initiate the experience. They seem to feel something as they seek for their relatives.

What have you done to try to ignite the genealogy flame in your children or grandchildren? What has worked? What didn't? I'd love to hear from you below.

Maureen Taylor, in her webinar, "Children and Genealogy in the Classroom" had some great recommendations. Click here to view its recording.

Later this year, Devin Ashby, will present more ideas in his webinar "Family History for Kids". Register for the webinar (free) here.


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My 14 year old rolls her eyes and does the teenage "boooring" thing. She had to do an assignment on convicts so I said there's plenty on your convict ancestors if you need it. "No". So I am letting it go. When she wants to know, she'll ask. 10 year old son likes to hear family stories if they are interesting. So he gets the convict stories, the bushranger stories, the stories with animals involved, anything I can think of that may spark his interest. And now he asks who I am writing about on my blog and how they are related to him, so something is working (mind you, daughter was interested at that age too. We shall see what happens).

Whoo! Whoo! Another person interested in genealogy! I love reading how kids are excited about genealogy! Many people think they may be too little or not interested. Just dabble a little research with them and you have a life long learner.
As a third grade teacher, I have been able to get children interested in how to research their family. Now with more and more records coming from Family Search, getting them interested is a bit easier and exciting. The questions the kids ask are wonderful and the connections they make to their lives and other areas in school create a life long learner. :)
Good job!

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