The young people in your family could grow up to become adept genealogists. Of course, before that can happen, someone has to introduce them to genealogy. Doing so can be difficult because some think that genealogy research is boring and isolating. The key to getting young people inspired to try genealogy is their own smartphone.
The Deseret News posted an article called “How cemeteries and smartphones play a role in LDS family history.” The events described in the article provide an excellent example of how the use of a smartphone in genealogy research can make young people more excited about genealogy.
The article says that a group of 1,500 Canadian young people spent an entire day in cemeteries that were located in and around Calgary, Alberta. They group was there for the purpose of taking photos of the headstones with their smartphones.
Those photos were uploaded to the BillionGraves app, which connects with the BillionGraves website. The names and other information that was on each gravestone was uploaded to a database. That database can be viewed by anyone, all around the world, who is looking for a photo of the gravestone of their ancestor.
The youth who were gathering the information were from five LDS stakes from Canada. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints places an emphasis on genealogy. It’s possible that one purpose of the “field trip” was to connect the young people with their religion.
That being said, the same technique would work to get other young people interested in genealogy. A genealogist could start with the young people in his or her family. Your children, or your nieces and nephews, could be a good choice.
Ideally, each young person will need their own smartphone. They will need to have the BillionGraves app, or the FindAGrave app, on their phone. Take a trip together to a local cemetery. Show the young person where the graves of his or her ancestors are located.
Doing so could help a young person realize that these people were real. It’s one thing to look at a photo of an ancestor, but quite another to visit his or her grave. Have the young person photograph the headstones and upload those photos through the app. These small steps could be all it take for the young person to become interested in genealogy.
Another option is to visit a really old cemetery that has the graves of people who lived in the area long ago. Your family might not be related to them, but that is ok. Let the young person know that there could be a genealogist out there, somewhere, who will be thrilled to see a photo of their ancestor’s gravestone.
Image by Jon Fingas on Flickr.
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