If you love genealogy, it is only natural that you would love it if your children or grandchildren were interested in it, too. After all, who is going to take your research into the future, add to it, and share it with new generations? Who are you going to leave all of your research to with the sure knowledge they will protect and love it as much as you? Who can you talk about the family history with in your own, living family? Your children and grandchildren are the most obvious answers.
One of the best ways to get kids interested in genealogy is to involve them in fun genealogy projects. There are several that most kids will love. One that you might want to try is to take an old family photo of ancestors that the kids didn’t know and turn it into a jigsaw puzzle. You can turn photos into jigsaw puzzles on a number of print on demand websites, and it is pretty cheap to do. Putting the puzzle together can be a terrific activity that you and the kids can do together over the course of one or several days. It makes for wonderful quality time with the kids.
While putting the puzzle together, you can take the opportunity to tell the kids about the ancestor or ancestors in the photo. Make the stories as interesting as possible, and encourage your kids to ask questions. If you ask them what they want to know about the person or people, they are more likely to ask their own questions, and this opens up a delightful genealogical dialogue with the kids. Once the puzzle is put together, you can compare it to the original photo it was created from, and even show the kids other photos of that same ancestor or ancestors. They will probably be interested in seeing them at that point, and it provides you a great opportunity to tell them even more kid-friendly stories about the family history.
To keep the kids as interested in the photo as possible, it is best to choose a photo to make into a puzzle that the kids have some tangible connection to. As an example, you can choose a picture of their parents when they were children, along with their parents’ parents and/or grandparents. You could also choose a picture of the child or children who will be doing the photo with you, being held or standing near a relative who is now gone, who they may barely remember or not remember at all. This way, the child feels a better connection to the photo and will be more excited about putting it together with you.
If you want the kids to keep that connection to the photo and the people in it, as well as remind them of the fun time they had with you putting together the puzzle, you can have the puzzle framed and hung on the kids’ bedroom wall or some other place in the house that they spend a lot of time in. They can look at this puzzle with pride, and it can well be the jumping off point for an interest in genealogy for them.