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teenie geanie
getting kids hooked on genealogy

By Deborah K. Millemaci
(return to genealogy)

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.

related books...

Do People Grow on Family Trees?

My Family Tree : A Bird's Eye View

A Student's Guide to Italian American Genealogy

related sites...
Cyndi's List - Kids and Teens

For Kids:

Genealogy Today - Junior Edition

Show and Tell
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
You can slowly introduce your child into the research process of tracing their family ancestry. They can become familiar with the different forms used and become accustomed to the information needed to be recorded on them. One way to help kids obtain information for their research forms is to interview aunts, uncles, and grandparents. The stories that your child hear will then become a part of their memories.

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.

Make a Game
All kids love games, so why not create a "Family History" game? Each family member can submit questions (with answers nearby) pertaining to events in the life of an ancestor. The possibilities here can be endless!

©Deborah K. Millemaci - 2002
No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.


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