Question of the Week: What are some of the ways you have found or used to get your family interested in genealogy?

+16 votes

Something I heard about recently that would be fun to do next week when a lot of us will be with our families is the StoryCorps Great Thanksgiving Listen.

It's an effort to get high school students involved in their family history, but it's also perfect for people like us! :-)

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
My best results have come by finding cousins who are already interested in genealogy.

On a more somber note, I intend to request that my relatives be tested for genetically transmitted cardiomyopathy... but only after the festivities have concluded. my urgency being that it runs in the family and can cause sudden death in young athletes through heart failure. Thanksgiving or soon thereafter will see us all together!

Story Corps is a super idea, Julie Ricketts, I've listened to it and particularly found fascinating the story of a neighbor who met his German wife while serving with American troops in WWII. Stayed happy all of the decades afterward, an African-American soldier married to a German fraulein.

Thank you, Dorothy! And I hope that the testing is helpful and that most people show up without the anomaly. <3
Thanks, Julie. "Live long and prosper!"
I tell stories usually in a text whenever i find one. My great uncle was county medical examiner for several years and yet he had a drinking problem and you could find him sitting in the gutter. Also he was well-liked in the city. He also was married 3 times, each by divorce, for spouse abuse and alcoholism.

The best thing that happened to get my sisters interested in genealogy was to have a relative write an historical fiction novel about our 4GGrandmother. While fiction, it had a lot of real information in it and some reasonably good genealogy and included pages of source citations. The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong.

Next best thing was to find that some of our ancestors are buried in the cemetery my youngest sister occasionally goes for a walk with her dog in which. While interesting to some, a well known personage in your lineage can also get family interested. My sisters weren't interested in the Rev War soldiers but did get interested when Roger Conant showed up. The youngest doesn't live very far from Salem, Massachusetts which helped. Now they want me to find a witch.

Dorothy, Perhaps through testing you can see if there is an inherited propensity for your family's heart issues. If one does not come back, please consider looking into the role selenium plays in heart health. The U.S. government has known since the 1930's that the soil east of the Mississippi is depleted of this important mineral. A lack of selenium is known to cause Cardiomyopathy (Keshan's Disease) in some people (malabsorption or lack of. selenium in food). You can do some research into this. This is just a suggestion as you can discuss this with your doctor and he may be able to do blood work to determine if this is an issue. I wish you the best- God bless!
I started in 1996 because I read a hardbound gene study commissioned by my uncle for a local certified genealogist who researched our family the hard way...writing letters and making phone calls and going to Chicago to some military archives. This turned out to be a travesty and a distant family member sold copies on the internet. [The Eldridge-Bawden Families]

I knew I could do a better job. I enjoyed going to genealogy weekends.

I love to share stories about family movers and shakers. I get accolades for my story-telling. I plan to publish my information. Yet nobody has expressed interest in this project.

6 Answers

+9 votes
I've talked about family in relation to historical events. A relative was involved in this military conflict (WWII, WWI, Civil War, Revolutionary War,etc) or these family members can be traced to the Mayflower, etc.

Also, talking about successful relations...for example I have a relative [[Russell-12051|L.E. Russell]] that was a successful doctor/surgeon.

It really hasn't lead to anyone else researching, but it has definitely brought about some discussion and I've been able to share the knowledge, especially with my children.
answered by Tim Bittner G2G6 Mach 2 (21.5k points)
That's a great way to draw children into history, Tim. Like Astrid said below, a lot of children don't like history in school because of the way it's taught. They can't relate to it. Bringing stories about our families in relation to historical events makes history come alive!
+7 votes
I never liked history at school......... grrrr well I did at primary school as we had that teacher that was so good at story telling. Loved it then but at secundary it was only about keeping numbers............... with events.

If secundary would  make WikiTree a compulsory school subject I am sure it would make many scholars more interested in history. For instance I never heard about some wars here like the Belgium war but learned about it as some of the ones I was researching on were involved there.


That is not an answer to the question :) But just liked to share. :p


Oh looking at the link now. :D IT does fit!
answered by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
Same story here, Astrid! I really disliked history class in high school. I think you're right: If they taught it as genealogy class, maybe more people would learn more. ;-)
+7 votes
I have always been a photo nut,,and when people started asking if I had a picture of so and so...I also included a little story...and sometimes that interested them,,,and when  Remembrance Day comes I post a picture and a store of their service with each picture,,and now alot have decided to pick up the ball and run with it,,we now have 6,,,or 7,,,all interested and doing the history, and trading pictures, stories,,and information.
answered by Rita Miller G2G2 (2.7k points)
Rita!! I love that!!!
Brilliant idea! I think I will try it on my family.
+5 votes
I post old photos on Facebook.  It gets the family members talking.  :-)
answered by Vicky Majewski G2G6 Mach 6 (67.2k points)
+3 votes
I have been interested in genealogy and history for over 30 years. I can't seem to get my family interested in it. I finally have been showing them pictures of our ancestors. The other day I showed my mom pictures of her grandparents that she had never seen. She really seemed interested for the first time.
answered by Cheryl Hess G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
0 votes
From Family reunions!
answered by Jean Roach G2G3 (3.6k points)
The fact that several of our ancestors were famous:  Georgia O'Keeffe, Buckminster Fuller (a Mayflower descendant), Patrick Henry, R J Reynolds, Zachary Harrison, Princess Diana, Sir Boyle Roche a/k/a Tiger Roche, Dorothy Kilgallen and lots of others.

I have had ancestors on both sides of the civil war, as well.

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