The Ancestor Game
September 1995

“The Ancestor Game,” Ensign, Sept. 1995, 73

The Ancestor Game

Several years ago I wanted to plan an activity focusing on family history for our family home evening on Memorial Day. Our children, then ages nine through thirteen, were only vaguely aware of who some of their ancestors were, so I came up with a game that would help us all learn about our ancestors.

I prepared a six-generation pedigree chart on a large piece of butcher paper, filling in only the children’s names and leaving the other spaces blank. Then I made a key to the whole chart so I would know how the completed poster should look.

For each blank space on the chart, I made a separate card listing the ancestor’s full name and information about that person. For example, one card read “Ira Walter Gardner—I was born in 1849 in Sweetwater, Wyoming, while my parents were crossing the Plains.”

As I passed the cards out to the family, I explained the rules: Using the information on the card, each person would deduce where on the chart their cards would go. At each turn they could ask me yes or no questions about their ancestor. As long as they got yes answers, they could continue to ask. If they put their card in the wrong space, or if they got a no answer, their turn was over. The children caught on quickly and soon the chart was complete.

We had a good time with the game, but more important, the children began to see how their ancestry fit together and to develop an appreciation for their forebears.—Dorine McDaniel, Pacific, Washington

Illustrated by Jerry Harston