Today's family history researchers see varying attitudes among their own children.
Some are disappointed and say their children have no interest at all in this journey of discovery; while others can point to an early curiosity in their children.
How can we encourage our children, regardless of their age, toddlers through young adults? Are there classes for kids? What techniques are available?
Instill in each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild a sense of their own family heritage. Share those family stories, the good and the bad of your own childhood. No matter how young, teach them, show them; remember that they are the future, for you, for me, for genealogy.(Page 2, Winter 2009 Newsletter, Young Genealogists Association)
One program that has drawn much attention is the annual Kid's Family History Camp, associated with the Southern California Genealogical Society's annual Jamboree conference and in conjunction with the Youth Genealogists Association. More than 150 people attended the 2009 kids' camp, which featured such topics as creating and preserving your family history, genealogy games, family history storytelling, genealogy merit badge, genealogy art and more.
The program is free and open to the public, for boys and girls ages 8-16. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. This year, the program runs from 9am-noon, on Friday, June 11, Jamboree's opening day, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Hotel and Convention Center (Burbank, California).
The SCGS program is also designed for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who are working on obtaining their genealogy badges. See badge requirements here. The camp is also a resource for students working on class "roots" assignments.
Students planning to attend should download a pedigree chart and a family group sheet and complete it as best they can.
For more information on this special program, and to download the various forms, click here.
For more resources on educating the younger generations about family history, go to the Youth Genealogists Association which also has a blog.
The YGA - no membership fee - was formed in 2009 to promote, mentor and educate youth involved in family history and genealogy, and to help them find a voice in the genealogical community.
The site's Calendar section of the site offers information on youth writing contests with a genealogical hook, while the Links section offers relevant articles, activities and websites. The Newsletter section archives the publication which holds interesting articles.
Family Tree Magazine offers "family tree kids! making family history fun," with pages for Family Tree Form, Family Tree Fun, Family Detective, Junior Toolkit, Teachers & Parents, with many links and ideas in each section.
Another helpful site is the Family History Library Summer of Sleuthing (SOS), with activities for pre-schoolers, children, teens and adults.
Each age group offers age-appropriate challenges to complete, such as journal keeping, creating a project (collage, scrapbook, family blog, DVD, time line, family web site, picture book, mobile, home video, diorama, etc.), a service project for an older relative, interview older relatives about his or her life, take a family history class, search for a deceased relative's death record, search for an older relative's census record, read a book about your community, visit a cemetery, clean an area, copy marker information; discuss the reasons why an ancestor left his or her native country, write your own life story and more.
How have you interested your own children or grandchildren in their unique family histories? What methods and techniques did you use? Share them with us. I'm looking forward to reading your comments.