Sharing Family History: Genealogy activity ideas for ages 14 – 17

Sharing Family History: Genealogy activity ideas for ages 14 – 17By Barry J. Ewell

Photograph project
Piles of Photos sitting around your house? Enlist a child this age to help sort and label them.

Letter writing
Often a part of high-school English assignments, encourage your child to write a letter to a relative asking about family history.

Source notes
Another gem from English class, show your child how sources should properly be cited (and if he/she is interested, go through your own database and enlist your child’s help in bringing your citations up to speed!)

Help plan a family reunion
Enlist the young folk, get their ideas, and put them in charge of an activity of their choice.

I’m my own grandpa party
For a party or youth activity, invite guests to come as an ancestor from a certain time period. Have everyone bring a story or song to share. Play music from that time, and serve treats of the period.

Write a song
If a young person in your family is musically talented, invite him/her to write a family song. Tell the story of the family in rap, country, ballad, or whatever!

Genealogy service project
There are many genealogy projects waiting to be done – census transcriptions, book indexes, photography and electronic scanning, cemetery transcriptions, preservation and clean-up. And many youth organizations require ‘graduating’ projects (Eagle Project, Gold Project, Laurel Project, etc.). Encourage your son/daughter to consider a genealogy project to fulfill service requirements.

Your young person might want to make a list of the careers his/her ancestors pursued. How were those careers useful? Which careers were highly valued? Perhaps there might be some talent passed on, that would make one of these careers (or its modern equivalent!) interesting to him/her.

Dancing like they used to
Research popular music and dance from an ancestor’s time period. Have a party and dance the way they did back then.

Skeletons in the closet
Every family has them. At this age, it’s important to talk about decision-making, and learning from the experiences of our ancestors.