A collection of some of the easiest and most engaging family history activities that are perfect for families.
Do you hate family history?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Most people think family history is for grandmas with nothing better to do.
But, guess what? Family history activities can actually be super, super fun.
Seriously… and I’m here to help you find out how!
The first thing you need to know is that family history is NOT just sitting at a computer, looking at documents and finding names to take to the temple. That is a part of family history, but it is not all of it. So if that part makes you want to poke your eyeballs out, don’t do it for now and focus on some of the other (less difficult!) parts of family history.
So what can you do to participate in family history if you’re not finding names to take to the temple? I’m so glad you asked. Here is a list of awesome activities that even little kids can do to help catch the spirit of family history work.
1. Relative Finder
I don’t want to be a name dropper or anything, but it turns out I’m related to Elvis Presley, Barack Obama, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Babe Ruth… just to name a few.
And how do I know this? RelativeFinder.org. This is a kid favorite! My kids were delighted to find out the different US Presidents, movie stars, prophets, and more who they were related to. This is probably the easiest (and most fun!) family history activity you can do!
*For all of these activities you will need to have a Family Search login (which should be the same as your lds.org login). If you don’t have one, you’ll need your member ID number which you can get from your ward clerk.
2. Discover Your Ancestors
This is a new, super fun, and totally kid friendly section of Family Search. There is zero research here- everything is set up to tell you about your ancestors. Some of my favorite sections are:
- Compare-a-Face: this one was so fun! I took a picture of myself and Family Search found the ancestors whose faces were most similar. Turns out I’m a 30% match with my white haired, bearded second great grandpa. Hmmmm…..
- Ancestor Challenge: this is a great game for kids! You have to match your ancestor’s picture to the right name. Such a fun way to become more familiar with your family members!
- Occupations: I loved finding out all the different jobs my ancestors had. From carpenters, to farmers, to nurses, and lots and lots of homemakers it was fun to see the occupational history of my ancestors.
- My Pioneer Ancestors: ever wonder which companies your pioneer ancestors travelled in? I just found out my ancestor was in Brigham Young’s! What a faith promoting and fun Sabbath activity!
- Missionaries: this one was super cool. I found out that I had an ancestor who went to Turkey on a mission in the late 1800s and actually died while serving. (That picture at the top of this section is of him!) What an amazing story to tell my children to help them appreciate the sacrifices of those early missionaries.
3. Family Search Fan Chart
This one just requires a printer and a Family Search login. My kids LOVE to look at their family tree. They love to see how far back it goes and if they happen to be related to any royalty!
Family Search now has multiple options for how you view your family tree. When you login to Family Search just click on the top where it says “Family Tree” and then click on the view options (landscape, portrait, fan chart, or descendancy).
I have printed out my children’s family history fan charts for them to put on their walls. They love it because it’s pretty, I love it because it reminds them of their ancestors!
This section of Family Search lets you look at stories, pictures, and memories that others have shared of your common ancestors.
I love to use this to let my kids discover great stories of ancestors (including one when a relative was almost scalped by Native Americans as a little girl!). If you want to catch the spirit of family history work this is a great place to start because it helps make your ancestors feel like real people with real stories!
Oh my goodness, this one is great! If you go to rootsmapper.com you can discover where your ancestors (going back up to 12 generations!) came from! Turns out I have ancestors from Australia, France, and somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!
These are some of the very simplest, easiest ways you can get started with family history. If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy this work I’ll be writing more articles about it, but you can also check out the blog at www.thefhguide.com for more ideas!
Happy family historying!