What age did you start researching your family history? I was a teenager when I started and haven’t looked back since. I can’t remember doing any sort of family history at school but I now wish I had. I could have caught the genealogy bug earlier, and started asking questions earlier but that’s something we hear a lot from genealogists. Perhaps it’s because we feel the more time we have the better results. So, how do you get the youngsters involved in something that’s not Facebooky/musicy/sporty/Twitterish?
0-5 years old
I know what you’re thinking, but it’s never too early to start the journey of a lifetime. How about telling stories about grandma as a child, or about grandad’s journey to a different country, or visiting aunts and uncles that share a family link.
5-10 years old
This is the start of school for most children and they enter a world of learning. Try using the following site for some ideas to make genealogy fun: Family Tree Kids.
10-15 years old
Here come the teen years and the attitude. Introducing technology here is important as they can incorporate history with modern tools. Softwares, mobile applications, forums, and social networks are great for enticing teenagers. Also, trying to make history seem relevant to them so they are not seen to be given lectures.
15-20 years old (yes, this IS young to a 40 year old genealogist)
I’m not so sure about this category. However, I would like to point out the Who Do You Think You Are? TV documentary that is very popular viewing. Let’s face it, visuals do really help with enticing young people.
Ofcourse it helps to have a genealogist role model in the family. Someone who can offer advice and guidance to a newbie and hopefully somone who has made a start already so you don’t have to start from scratch!
Lastly, I’ll use the example of the recent census in the UK. I’ve heard many people say they don’t even know what the census is and they ranged from 16-30 odd year olds. I was glad to explain what it was all about but also was slightly worried that somewhere down the line they had not been told about the census or perhaps they just didn’t remember.
Let’s do our best to get more people involved in family history!
P.S. UK readers: Remember to fill in your census forms and return them. (I have :P)