Researching your family history is a lot more fun when it is a family affair.
I have to admit that my husband only has limited interest in his family tree, and absolutely no interest at all in traipsing around in snake infested cemeteries out in the middle of nowhere. However, one of my daughters is interested, and I include her in all of my genealogical activities.
Today, I thought I would give you a few ideas on how you can include your children in your family history adventure.
There isn't a lot out there that is geared to young researchers, but there are two resources that are certainly worth mentioning.
My Family Tree Workbook, Genealogy for Beginners by Rosemary A. Chorzempa is a great first book for a child. It contains basic research techniques and pages to record four generations worth of information. It is a softcover workbook with 57 pages. I like it because it not only has places to record the general facts and figures of each person in your child's family tree, but it also covers geography, culture, immigration, ethnic foods and crafts as well as a place to include photographs. This makes researching more interesting for your child.
I recently came across a brand new book that I think has a lot of potential as a teaching tool. Write Your Roots by Carole Thaxton is actually a homeschooling language arts program geared for 5th-12th grade. It is designed to study your family history over 30 weeks. You would have the added benefit of a strong language arts supplement even if your child is in public school. Not only does it show your child how to do research, it also teaches your child the proper way to record the family stories your relatives have to tell. Because it is a language arts program, the book covers grammar and proper sentence and paragraph structure so your child's written stories will be refined and polished. You could even go so far as to have their stories bound and sent to relatives. This would be a great project and something they can be very proud of.
Take your child with you whenever you can. There are some repositories that will not allow children under the age of 16, so call ahead. As long as you are supervising, your child can enter information in your computer database program, and they can maintain your paper files. Not only will they be learning valuable information, you will have help keeping all your stuff straight. Whether it is genealogy or some other passion, it is always more fun when you can spend time with your children pursuing a common interest.
Just as a little side note, my 11-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, competed in the state 4-H competition in Rock Eagle, Ga., on Feb. 18 and won third place in the history category by doing a presentation on genealogy. Needless to say, I was very proud of her. Genealogy is a special something that she and I share. Now if I could just get my husband to take me to more cemeteries...