Family history activities are a way to get to know those who have gone before, write about their lives, and to learn from and be inspired by their experiences. Family history activities are also a way to connect with living family members, create and write your own family history, and make fun memories.
1. Anytime Activities and Games
Overview: With modern technology, family history activities can be a snap! You might just need an idea and a little nudge in the right direction to discover that family history can be a fun and inspirational part of your life!
Y1-01: Not Just for Kids!—
Everyone can have fun finding out more about their ancestors and family trees. You can be a big help to younger children to teach them how to play games. You can also participate with them in exploring family trees, timelines, and more.
Find some cool games and activities in the FamilySearch App Gallery.
Y1-05: Create Personal Histories—
Keep a journal, create a scrapbook, write stories, and use social media to record the stories of your life. With a camera or smartphone, pictures of events and family members can be put in a photo book, shared on social media and added to FamilySearch and other sites. (Blog)
Overview Here are some activities that require a bit of advance planning, but they are definitely worth it. Parents and grandparents are always so grateful for help in planning family history activities!
1. Check the Internet for songs that were popular the year your parents graduated from high school, and surprise them by playing them.
2. Ask your parents to show you the dances that went with the songs (that should make for an interesting evening!).
3. Discover what life was like for your ancestors with no electricity—don’t use it for 24 hours. (Leave the refrigerator and freezer plugged in if you expect smiling parents, and be safe.)
4. Visit a town where an ancestor lived on Google Earth or Google Maps. (Blog)
5. Ask your parents to take you to a town where an ancestor lived. Do research on the ancestor so you can discuss his or life details while there.
Y2-02: Cousin’s Camp—
Consider attending My Family History Youth Camp at BYU or plan your own Cousin’s Camp. See this blog post for details.
1. Ask your parents to tell you how they met. Was it “love at first sight”? What qualities did they find irresistible in each other? Play 20 questions and record it.
2. Give your parents their favorite treats and treat them to their favorite movie or game.
3. Look at scrapbooks together and have your parents fill in details of what they remember.
4. Make an anniversary present for your parents by compiling slides or pictures of the family. You can also make slide copies of old family snapshots. A slide show could be the main attraction at a party honoring such an important event.
Y2-05: Family Reunion Ideas—
Visit the AmberSkyline site for some cool ideas on family history reunions.
Y2-07:Visit Historic Sites and Genealogy Societies—
Research to find local historic sites or genealogical societies near you. Genealogical societies can be a great resource to you and are usually happy to have visitors or have the opportunity to teach you about their records and their services. Some of the following links may be helpful: United States National Register of Historic Places, List of U.S. National Historic Landmarks by State, National Park Services, The Nearest Genealogical Society
Y2-08: Tasty Treats—
Entertain your family by serving some tempting dishes that your ancestral family might have eaten, such as Danish dumplings, lasagna, sauerkraut, sushi, lox and bagels, johnnycakes, smoked dried jerky, or French pastry. What items were on your ancestors’ menu? See these recipes on FamilySearch.
3. Making Family History
Overview: According to the production team of the Make History website, making family history is two-fold: 1) Make something new that documents, creates, or contributes to your family history, and 2) Make something of yourself that enhances or contributes to your family legacy. Check out the suggestions below from the Make History Blog.
Overview: With your interest in family history and your skills in technology, not only can you keep current by writing about your life as you know it, but you can help preserve your family’s history. Here are some ways to record your heritage so each piece of your family’s past won’t be forgotten or lost to you and future generations.
For more ideas on learning and using social media tools, see Project 7, Goal 3 (FamilySearch) or Project 6, Goal 3 for Ancestry, MyHeritage, or Findmypast.
6. Service Activities
Overview: You know that feeling you get when you do something for someone else that they can't do for themselves? Family history provides many varied opportunities to serve others. Try some of these ideas, and see what a difference you can make!
Y6-01: Cemeteries and Smartphones—
Who knew they could be a great pair? Check out this article to learn how to get started making family history discoveries with your phone.
Y6-02: Use The Family History Guide—
You can help others learn how to do family history by using The Family History Guide. See the menus at the top of each website page.
7. Activities for Research
Overview: Who knew that being a family history detective could be such fun? Finding clues, analyzing and documenting data, and locating people and places make for exciting adventures! Try sleuthing with your family ... become a detective team!
Y7-04: Where Did Your Ancestors Live?, Part 2— Geocode your family history on an interactive world map. Also try Google Maps and the Country pages in The Family History Guide.
8. LDS Family History Activities
Overview: When Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends,” he was talking about you - the youth of the church! “I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead” (Oct. 2011 general conference). Family history activities are a way to get to know those for whom you will do temple work, find information about them to document their lives, and help others learn how to find names of their ancestors. They are also a way to connect with your living family, and make fun family history memories.
The LDS.org Youth and Family History site provides tips for youth on how to get started on family history, videos and advice from other youth who have become involved, and messages from Church leaders.
Y8-01: Early Church Ancestors—
Find out the names of your earliest ancestors who joined the Church. Where were they baptized and how did the Church change their lives? Make a book of the conversion stories. These stories could be sent with missionaries when they go to share the gospel. See this FamilySearch blog for details.
Y8-07: Embark on a Family history Activity (YM/YW)— Punch your passport for an exciting youth family history activity.
Y8-08: Preserve Living Memories—
Interview living relatives or people in your ward to help document their treasured stories and memories. Encourage the youth to visit a living relative and record an interview that can later be transcribed and entered in FamilySearch tree. For more info, see this LDS.org article.