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Genealogy for Children

Teaching Kids to Be Ancestor Detectors


While genealogists find family history fascinating, most children just don't see it the same way. What's the point in learning about people who are already dead? It is possible, however, to involve children in your favorite pastime - they'll likely even find it interesting despite their best efforts to appear bored.

Almost all children like to play detective - to look for clues and sift through information for answers. This fascination with detective work provides the perfect vehicle to introduce the children in your life to something unique and personal - their ancestry - with the child playing the leading role of Ancestor Detector! Whether introduced at home or in the classroom, genealogy is a wonderful hobby for all age groups, including children, and provides an opportunity to:

  • develop a stronger sense of family
  • bridge the gap between generations
  • share special time with your loved ones
  • make history come alive
  • encourage organizational, planning, communication, logic, problem-solving, and presentation skills
  • create an opportunity for lifelong learning

The genealogical treasure hunt is a search for something more precious than gold or jewels -- information that reveals something about your family. It can be in the form of a document such as a will, a picture of a long-dead ancestor, or a doll that a little girl played with a century ago. Children can have so much fun playing detective, that they won't even realize that they are learning along the way. They are stubborn by nature, and will find it especially rewarding to uncover pieces of their past that relatives might have said were lost forever. Ask your children or grandchildren to help you unravel the mystery of your family history, and you will be starting them on the journey of a lifetime.

For More Information:

Genealogy Projects for Children
Learn how to interest children in genealogy and their past with these projects, suggestions and ideas for making genealogy fun. Includes resources for students working on school family history projects and lesson plans for teachers wanting to introduce genealogy into the classroom.

Recommended Reading:

The Family Tree Detective - Cracking the Case of Your Family's Story
A fun way to get the children interested in learning about the "saints and scoundrels" in the family tree. Dozens of Cousins - Blue Genes, Horse Thieves and Other Relative Surprises in Your Family Tree Author Lois Horowitz explains not only how complex genealogical relationships work, but also how you can often uncover interesting surprises along the way.
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Climbing Your Family Tree - Online and Offline Genealogy for Kids
An interactive book for parents and children which guides you through the steps of exploring your past. Also called "The Official Ellis Island Handbook," this book is the revised, updated and retitled version of the classic "Do People Grow on Family Trees?"
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Roots for Kids - A Genealogy Guide for Young People
An excellent, easy to understand guide which can also be helpful to adults who are new to genealogy.
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Bringing History Home - Local and Family History Projects for Grades K-6
Bring history to life with these ideas and projects for families and school settings. Even children as young as kindergarten age can enjoy the process of learning about history.
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The Ark to the Future - A Family Time Capsule and Memory Album
Creatively inspired, this real metal time capsule with included booklet, poster, memory album, postcards and stickers makes a wonderful project for the entire family.
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