Genealogy is a fascinating subject for many people who enjoy tracing their roots and creating a family tree. Researching family background is an activity ideally suited for grandparents to share with their grandchildren allowing both generations to learn some of the family history together.
Building a base of information for the family tree often begins by gathering the basic facts regarding birth dates and other important data such as marriages and dates of deaths.
Sometimes, family members have records on hand, so contacting others within the family is usually the best place to start.
Many people record such information in a family Bible or other place where it is kept for use of future generations; if such a rich source of information is available, family research can be simplified.
The internet offers an enormous amount of information and there are a wide variety of sites specifically designed to help locate information for a family tree.
Costs vary widely from site to site, so a bit of browsing is wise before committing to a purchase. Kids and teens are often quite computer savvy, so putting them in charge of internet research is a great idea.
As with all matters of internet access and kids, however, an adult should be on hand to supervise. The internet has a lot of useful information, but it can also open doors to unsavoury people and inappropriate material.
Grandparents must keep a close eye on grandchildren, especially young ones, when they are online, since predatory web surfers pose dangers to unsupervised children.
Reconnecting with Family Members
Many people find that when they begin researching their family tree, they reconnect with “long lost” family members.
Typically, in order to get background stories in addition to mere dates, phone calls are placed and arrangements for visits are made that get family members back in touch.
This is often the most rewarding part of the process, allowing grandparents to introduce their grandchildren to family members that they haven’t yet met.
Hearing stories about previous generations and their experiences allows children to feel connected to their ancestors in ways that looking at a chart of facts never could.
Oftentimes, children are surprised and delighted to learn that the have a lot in common with past generations, whether it be their athletic abilities or interest in art.
Once the research is completed, it is important to record it in a clear and factual manner, preserving it for generations to come. There are dozens of computer programs that can help to organise and chronicle the information in a sensible way.
Again, shopping and comparing is wise since the programs vary from very basic (simply names and dates) to quite detailed, allowing room for stories, documents, and even photographs.
Depending on what type of family tree is desired, the choices are plentiful.
As with all activities that grandparents can share with their grandchildren, the most valuable aspect is the time spent together, chatting and making memories.
While it is a fun and worthwhile endeavour to research and document your family’s past, spending this time with the grandchildren is a sure way to do something even more important — enrich your family’s future.