So here are some ways to spark the genealogy ‘bug’ in the younger folks.
Find just one or two characteristics to the younger person what was also a characteristic of an ancestor. Such as any artistic skill or musical ability or a good singing voice shared by both. Find a common, shared ground which will cause the young person see they have this skill of a family member.
Besides any skills, there are appearances. My 21-year old nephew just realized he looks just like his father, his grandfather and his great granduncle at certain ages. Then could be shared names, not just a surname but given first and middle names.
Another method to get younger folks involved is by calling on their technological skills. Request assistance in scanning some interesting family photos or vital records. As each are scanned briefly tell a little story on the person or event.
Relate some of the more interesting or even ‘black sheep’ stories about a few ancestors showing they are not just a name but were real people.
Show your own passion and enthusiasm, that doing this research is fun and like putting a puzzle together on a family or individual. If you have any object; a shaving mug, a piece of jewelry, a sword, etc that was owned by an ancestor, share what you know about that object. its age, what it was used for, how you acquired the artifact, etc. It is amazing how one object can spark interest because it is something real they can hold in their hand.
Share any historical event information that relates to an event or time period an ancestor lived through. If a relative fought during the American Civil War, most everyone loves learning about that era of the 1860s. If they had to move out west due to the Great Dust Bowl era of the 1930s, cover about period in American history. Watch for any special shows in TV or as the backdrop for a movie that is of a special historical event and relate how the family ancestor was involved. In our family we have a great-great grand uncle who was invited to attend the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg’s Address. He sat right up on the stage set up for the president and other officials.
Be creative and enthusiastic and the younger generation will follow in your footsteps.
Photos: Younger person learning at a Family History Center; look alike – Queen Elizabeth II in 1930, and her granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Edward’s daughter; younger people helping with computer skills; and learning the history of a specific event.
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