“Fun with Family History,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 71
Participating in family history projects can be fun at any age. Here are several activities that may spur the interest of children, youth, and young adults.
One grandmother took the opportunity to teach her grandchildren, ages 8 and 10, how to trace their family line during a two-week visit to her home. Before the children arrived, she arranged with the local Family History Center to have some microfilms containing names of their ancestors.
When the children arrived, she took them to visit the center, showed them the microfilm reader, and gave them some specific items to search for. The pleasure they received from finding names of their own family on the film made it a special day and planted seeds in their minds that may blossom in the future.
On a later visit, she gave each child a notebook. Inside was a world map. She helped children place a dot on the towns their ancestors came from. They found illustrations of flags from the various countries, made copies of them, then glued them to the map.
A family we know planned a special family home evening on family history. They typed up short excerpts from histories of ancestors and had the children read or dramatize them. Simple costumes helped make it fun. They also prepared old family recipes for dinner, including Grandma’s Icebox Dessert.
The family history specialist in one ward worked with the Boy Scouts on their genealogy merit badge. Once a month for four months, she met with the boys on their regular activity night. Each boy received a kit containing a cover sheet, merit badge booklet, and forms that needed to be filled out as they completed the various steps of the merit badge.
Youth leaders in one ward found an old cemetery that needed care. After making arrangements with the directors, the group organized a service project to clean the grounds by mowing, weeding, planting, and hauling away trash.
Later, the group decided to compile a history of the cemetery by collecting the inscriptions from each tombstone and including them in a booklet containing a brief history of the cemetery.
Young adults held a family history party. Everyone came dressed as one of their ancestors. During the evening all of them had a turn to tell about the ancestor they represented. Games included churning butter, splitting wood, braiding rugs, and using a plow and harness. Scones and cider topped off the evening.
By participating in a variety of fun activities, children and youth can begin while young to gain an interest in family history work.—Lois G. Kullberg, Salmon Creek Ward, Vancouver Washington West Stake