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Genealogy competition leads to ice cream party

Desperate for something new to do at home this afternoon, three of my four kids were excited when I announced a contest. I gave them each the same "puzzle" and promised a deluxe ice cream party if they could fill in the blanks. And then I left the room.


With my office door open, it was interesting and hilarious to hear what they were saying:

"...but he wasn't born in 1905..."

"Dad? Do you want her maiden name or the one she got when she married her husband?"

"I'm just going to guess."

"Evan, do you have any information about Irma?"

"Ancestry is stupid!"

"What ancestors are these to us?"


"I won, suckers!"

I was astonished when my 11-year-old, Kaitlyn, asked "where am I in this tree Daddy?" She was at looking at our family tree. I helped her navigate up, over, and down the tree until we found this family. She clicked on each child, clicked on the "Research This Person" link, and I became a proud father once again. She found death certificates, tombstone images, census records, and more. We evaluated each record together so we would know if the record was for the right person. 


She even found the yearbook photographs of both Clarence and Irma! Thank you Kaitlyn and MyHeritage! This was way more than I expected to find.


One reason that the "contest" was so successful was due to one of my favorite features in my Legacy Family Tree software. I started by choosing the Descendant Book report:


Then I added check marks for the underlines:


This produced the report with blank lines for the unknown vital events. And it worked! They knew immediately what information was missing and the competition began.

Braden found Clarence's birth date (but he didn't cite his source so we talked about that):


Evan started enthusiastically, but then he disappeared. Probably to make another sandwich.


I looked at Kaitlyn's browser history and learned that her first step was a Google search, "Where did Zachariah N. McCall die?" I never thought to use a complete sentence at Google before.


The contest was successful, and I guess we'll be having an ice cream party tonight!


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Great idea Geoff!! Wonderful way to get the kids involved.

What a great idea. My girls would get into this. They are somewhat interested in our family tree but love competition and ice cream. Sounds like a winner. Since COVID they've already learned about WEBINAR's and that if my bedroom door is closed I'm watching a live one. They know don't ask me for stuff then or they get the two word answer, "Can't webin-ing."

My wife uses complete sentences on Google search all the time! Probably the way the female mind works I guess, as when I questioned this some time back the answer was "Why ever not?"

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