By Whitney Ransom McGowan, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
Young people are at an excellent age to get involved in family history because they are comfortable with using the Internet and are generally tech savvy. Although family history and genealogy have traditionally been thought of as a favorite pastime or hobby for older folks, more and more young people are joining in. Much of this interest can be attributed to new social-networking tools available through the Internet that draw younger people in by building on their “need” for connection. Also, academia has recognized the growing interest in genealogy by the “younger” generation. Currently there are more than 50 college and university genealogical courses available in the United Kingdom (http://www.my-history.co.uk).
Getting youth involved in genealogy does not have to be difficult. Parents can encourage teenagers to record their thoughts and day-to-day activities in a personal journal. Parents can also share their personal experiences and stories, as well as interesting stories about the teenager’s ancestors. Performing genealogy research can also help young people gain a closer relationship with their family members. Through this process they will learn more about themselves as they learn about their ancestors. And because of their technical abilities, teenagers can help other individuals, such as their parents and grandparents, who may not be as skilled with computers.
Here are some questions to help a young person get started. To make things easier, you may just want to email or text this list to themâ€¦
* When were your parents born and where?
* Where did your parents grow up?
* When and where were they married?
* What were their parents’ names?
* When did their parents marry and where?
* Are their parents still living? If so, where do they live? If not, where are they buried and when did they pass away (name of cemetery, city, state)?
* Are there any other family members buried there or close by
* Who were your parents’ aunts and uncles?
* Do you parents know when/where their aunts and uncles were born, married, lived, buried?
* Who is your oldest living relative? Make plans to visit this person as soon as possible!
Here are also a few websites for beginning genealogists (particularly suited to children and teenagers):