Janet Few explains some straightforward steps for sharing your love of family history with the next generation, from toddlers to teenagers
Janet Few explains how to get the next generation into their family history, from toddlers to teenagers
Many genealogists regret that their younger relatives show no interest in family history. This is something that we must work to overcome, because the benefits are surprisingly wide-ranging.
Research by Marshall Duke, an American professor of psychology, has found that children who have a good sense of their personal history are likely to be more resilient, have higher selfesteem and be better able to deal with stress: all excellent reasons for us to encourage young people to take an interest.
We also benefit if the children around us share our passion for genealogy. Not only may they become the willing custodians of all our lovingly gathered information when we pass away, but there is immense pleasure to be had from sharing a hobby we love with our loved ones.
Age- Appropriate Thinking
You may feel that young people live for the moment and are not interested in family history, or indeed any aspect of times gone by. With many other distractions laying claim to their attention, we need to seek age-appropriate ways to inspire young people to become curious about the past in general and their own heritage in particular. Children won’t magically become fully committed family historians overnight, complete with an avid interest in databases and research techniques. Yet young people can be encouraged to share our passion for our ancestors. We need to build upon the children’s existing interests, or the subjects they are studying at school, and relate these to family history. The most important point to remember is that they may want to ‘do’ family history, but they are very unlikely to want to do things our way.
The ideas on the following pages require a small amount of planning and some extra effort, but when the children in your life ask “Can we do some family history?”, you will know that it has all been worthwhile.