The other day my 6 year old daughter came home and told me her best friend was “half Mexico”. It then prompted her to ask more about the history of our family. When I was a kid, I loved hearing more about the history of my family and what other countries our ancestors came from. If you’re looking to dive into researching your family’s history, here are some tips on how to get started.
Create a Family Tree
Get out the paper and crayons and sit down with your kids. Have the kids draw an actual tree and then start adding the names of all the relatives you can remember! I actually remember doing this as a kid and wish I would have kept it. It’s a fun way to get the kids involved so they can actually see how families can spread out (on branches!).
Get Out A Map
I have family that come from Ireland, Hungary and Czechia. To show my kids where we live currently and where our ancestors came from, I pulled up a map on my computer so they could see how far they traveled! There also free printable maps out there so you could even have the kids color where their ancestors are from.
Be a Detective
When you’re wanting to dive even more into your family history, hop on the computer with your kids and do a little detective work. You can start by looking at archived newspapers to see if you can find items like news articles, birth and death announcements, photographs and more! When searching online myself, I found that a distant family member had already started research on our family and had found a ton of information!
Take a DNA Ancestry Test
Research the different DNA ancestry tests out there and have your kids help decide the one that you will take. There are a few different ones that offer different information. It will be exciting for your kids to discover more places your family may be from that you didn’t know!
Take a Trip
Okay, maybe I can’t drop everything and hop on a plane to Ireland with my kids (I WISH!) but you can start off by taking a trip (even around town!) and showing your kids where you grew up, where your parents grew up, where your grandparents grew up and so on! Or if traveling to another country is what you want to do eventually, sit down with the kids and make a list of places that you would want to visit while there. Make sure to look up where your ancestors lived, went to school, etc.
It’s so fun when you involve your kids when researching your family history. It’s going to be something they always remember and will pass down to their kids! You could even start a scrapbook with them to make sure all of the information lives on to the next generation!