It’s important to know where you come from and to pass that knowledge down to your children. This may mean that you want to teach your teenager your family history. If they know where they’ve come from, it may give them a better idea of where they’re going.
Maybe you’ve been seriously considering your family history for some time but have never delved into it. You may also be experiencing tension or problems with your teenager. Why not use genealogy as a means to reconnect with your teenager while searching for your family’s past?
You can create your family tree using one of the many free genealogy products available online. You can also make a scrapbook with actual photographs if you and your teenager are more interested in that format. If you really want to teach your teenager about your family history, paint a family tree on a wall or on several pieces of poster board.
As with every genealogical search, you start with yourself. In this case, it would be your teenager in the first slot. You and your spouse would be numbers two and three. Then you would fill in your parents and your spouse’s parents in the appropriate spaces. Continue filling in the names as you remember or discover them.
Dig into your family’s background and find interesting stories about each family member. Of course, you’ll want to include pertinent factual information such as birth date, birth place, date of death, and place of burial, if appropriate. List the spouse or spouses, and each child from the marriage.
Your goal is to fill out as much of the family tree as possible, but it may take some time to find out the information you want. The best and easiest source to use when trying to find your family’s history is to speak with family. If you have older family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins, try to spend time with each one to see how many additional names they can add to your tree.
Pull together as many old photographs you can find. If your teenager is interested in computers (and how many teens aren’t these days), they may be willing to create a family blog or website where you can share your findings with other people in your family.
While you’re digging into your family history you’re doing more than teaching your teen about genealogy. You’re helping them learn about the people in their past and may be instilling in them a love of history that could become an important part of their future. In the process of searching for your family’s history, hopefully you and your teenager will grow even closer together.