Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to share your family history with your family.--Take them with you 2

Ok. You are going to think I'm crazy with this one. But my kids have quite enjoyed going with us on some heavy duty research. I know you will think I'm nuts, but you might give this one a try. Don't underestimate the interest or attention span of the family you are trying to involve in their family history.

My kids and I have actually quite enjoyed trips to the cemetery. I was inspired by Starr Hailey Campbell's book The Adventures of James: A Trip to the Cemetery. I read the book with my kids and then we tried it. She suggests you:

›Take a picnic
›Make file cards on who you are looking for. Have a prize for finding the right stone.
›Make maps
›Make rubbings
›Take a cemetery kit with treats, water, cleaning supplies, etc.
›Tell them about the person as you are traveling, cleaning headstones.

We put together a cemetery kit with CheeseIts, one of my grandmother's favorite treats. (You know, everything with kids goes well when there is food involved.) We sat and cleaned her stone to make a rubbing and I told them all about her. And we took a large sheet of paper so we could make a rubbing-genealogy chart of sorts of the ancestors we had in that cemetery. The kids really had quite a good time and have even enjoyed going back.

If you take them to a Library or Family History Center you might try to let them try to find something new. Or you might give them an easy find, something you already know about but know might peak their interest. The 1930’s census is very detailed, and a good place to start. If you ever take a group of kids who don't know much about their family--like a scout troop or such, the 1930 census is close enough to know who to look for (Usually grandparents or so), and can spark curiosity about their lives. With your family you might also try a Scavenger Hunt—Let them explore and find the sources for what you already know. My kids quite enjoy the trip. They really get excited when we find something new. We usually take them out to dinner and make it a fun evening. It probably doesn't hurt that we let them play on the internet so we can finish up when they start to get bored. But even though we sometimes give in a little at the end, but it is well worth it when they look forward to going again the next time.


Anonymous said...


I loved your blog entry about family history. I think it's great to share family history and stories with your kids. It's definitely something they will remember for a long time!

- Rory Siefer - Personal Historian

TK said...

Hey, Janet, I've tagged you for a meme at Before My Time. Come play with the Genea-Bloggers!

Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski said...


Terrific blog! I loved reading the article on sharing family history, taking your family with you.

I've enjoyed this 'assignment' of visiting 10 blogs and commenting. It has given me a chance to visit blogs that I have not visited before.

I truly did laugh out loud when I read the post 'the smile on a little girl's face.' Having the photo of the 'laptop' just cracked me up. I am certainly going to add your blog to my list of favorites.

Looking forward to more installments - you've given me an idea for a few posts of my own.


P.S. Love the name Chart Chick ... when I first got into road biking (bicycles - not the motorized kind) my hubby gave me the nickname Biking Chick :-)