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Inspiring a child's interest into his or her family ancestry is not as difficult as you may think. Many children are interested in genealogy, and in my research I discovered that there are numerous webpages and message groups specifically geared to the up-and-coming family researcher. In addition to these resources, you yourself can be part of inspiring your child to learn more about family. The trick is to make the experiences fun as well as educational. This can be accomplished through various activities involving family participation.
One of the first questions you will undoubtably have to answer is, "What is genealogy?" Simply stated, genealogy is the study and research of family relationships. In sharing old photographs with your children, they will be able to discover how the people pictured are related to them, but this is not all they will learn. They will also observe the hairstyles, scenery, type of clothes worn, etc. of that time period, learning about history in the process.
The photographs you share may depict a special occasion (birthday, wedding anniversary, etc.). If you have memories or a special story associated with these photographs, this is the time to share them with your child. Be prepared for many questions!
The Fledgling Reporter
Remembering family members who are no longer with us is another way to introduce children to their family history. Special memories of their lives can be shared and recorded as part of that ancestor's history. Another idea would be to construct a "Memory Book" of that person's life. Children can include photos, genealogy forms with researched information, and stories. In this way, kids will see their ancestors' lives unfolding before them.
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©Deborah K. Millemaci - 2002
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