25 Terrific Ideas for Family History Fun
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“25 Terrific Ideas for Family History Fun,” New Era, Mar. 1986, 34

25 Terrific Ideas for Family History Fun

Discover the fascinating and creative world of family history. Read through this list of ideas and decide which ones you might like to try. If you use your imagination, you will probably think of some additional activities. Good luck and have fun.

Find out what people did for fun 100 years ago and then have a Century Party. You could pull taffy or square dance. Costumes might be interesting.

Write about the funniest thing that ever happened to you, the saddest, the happiest, the scariest, etc.

Have you ever made your own soap, toothpaste, butter, etc.? Instructions for making such projects may be found in books available at any public library.

Take a carriage or hayride with a group of your friends.

See what life was like without electricity. Don’t use any of this wonderful discovery for 24 hours. (Note! You better leave the refrigerator and freezer plugged in if you expect a smiling mother.)

Go to your local library and check out records that have songs that were popular the year your parents graduated from high school. Ask your parents to show you the dances that went with the songs. (Now that should make for an interesting evening!)

Visit a town where an ancestor lived. Be sure to take your camera and lots of film.

Make a video of a family party or stage a video movie of an episode from your family’s history.

Entertain your family by serving some tempting dishes that your ancestral family might have eaten such as Danish dumplings, lasagna, sauerkraut, sushi, lox and bagels, johnnycakes, smoked dried jerky, or French pastry! What items were on your ancestors’ menu?

Have you ever asked your parents to tell you how they met? Was it “love at first sight”? What qualities did they find irresistible in each other?

Make a time capsule (a great activity when you’re in charge of family home evening). Get a sturdy box. Place in it various items that are important to you and your family. Some things you might put in it are a cassette recording of your family, a family photo, a stamp, a coin, a movie ticket, a program from sacrament meeting, school papers, report cards, family artwork, poems, etc. Mark the box with the date it can be opened, such as in one year or the day you return from your mission. Don’t forget where you hid the box!

Make an anniversary present for your parents by compiling slides or pictures of the family. You can also make slide copies of old family snapshots. A slide show could be the main attraction at a party honoring such an important event.

Visit the county courthouse or agency where your birth certificate is filed. Purchase a copy of your certificate.

Paint a picture; build a model; design an embroidery, counted cross-stitch, or needlepoint replica of your own home or an ancestral home. Don’t be surprised if your work becomes a treasured family possession. (Be sure to label the back of the replica with the address of the home and the name of the person who owned or owns it.)

Create a family history quilt. Using a quilt block for each member of your family, symbolize their interests or personalities in a lasting and colorful way. Quilt blocks can also be designed to symbolize a grandparent’s life.

Organize a potluck dinner for relatives living near you. Don’t forget to include some games and activities. If you have cousins that are near your age, consider hosting a cousins’ party.

Learn close-up photography techniques. Most community schools offer classes. Using your new skills, make copies of your favorite family snapshots for gifts or for yourself.

Collect all of your personal certificates. Place them in nonadhesive plastic envelopes to protect them. (Note: Using adhesive plastic envelopes, Scotch tape, or rubber cement glue will cause your certificates to deteriorate before their time).

Find out the names of your earliest ancestors who joined the Church. Where were they baptized and how did the Church change their lives?

Collect old family photographs showing your grandparents and great-grandparents. Decide which ancestor you resemble the most.

Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be a daily diary. You could make a monthly entry on the highlights of what you have learned. Be sure to write about your feelings too.

Many first names have meanings. Find out the meaning of your name and why your parents gave it to you.

Make a family tree using family photographs. Be sure to write the name of each person under his picture.

Interview the oldest living members of your parents’ families, and record the interviews on tape or in written form. Possible interview topics are childhood memories, holidays, changes they have seen, historical events, family members, family customs, education, transportation, recreation, marriage and later life, and their philosophy of life.

Learn some interesting information about the history, culture, food, language, or geography of a country where your ancestors lived.

After you’ve exhausted these 25 ideas, you may find that you’ve got a few ideas of your own for learning more about your family, your ancestors, and your heritage. And this new knowledge can serve a good purpose. It can make us sensitive to those who went before. It can create in us a desire to search out the names and vital information of our relatives.

As members of the Church, one of our main obligations is the redemption of the dead. After gathering the memorabilia and treasured memories of your present-day family, you’ll also want to gather those beloved ancestors who lived without a knowledge of the gospel into your great eternal family.

Photos by Michael McConkie