Learning all you can about how to make a family tree is great for kids because every child loves a good story. They begin clamoring for them as soon as they can speak, and will sit, rapt, while the story unfolds for them. What better story to tell your children then the story of their family with a family tree? We all have a need to know where we came from, and who went before us.
Children will be fascinated by a story that ends with them! You can tell them about how their ancestors came to live in the country they did, how their grandparents met, where you had your first date, and any other stories you know. When you make a family tree it will end with your child. If Grandma hadn’t missed that bus and been forced to take a later one, she never would have met and married Grandpa, had Dad, who married me, and then had you!
All roads lead to your child
Genealogy sounds daunting, but learning how to make a family tree isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. You don’t have to go back fourteen generations to make it fun and worthwhile for your kids. Start with the family information and stories you do have, and don’t stress about not knowing who your child’s great-great-great aunt on your father’s side married. You and your child can learn how to make a family tree in a single afternoon; it’s really not as hard as you think.
Once you’ve decided how far back you want to go, gather together a few supplies, and you’re ready to go!
Pens, pencils and markers
1) Make an index card for each person you plan to include on your tree.
2) Write down their name, date of birth and date of death if applicable.
3) If you’re feeling really ambitious, include any other details you might know about each person.
4) Once all the people cards are made move on to event cards.
5) Make a card for each important event that links two people.
Marriages, births, adoption, divorces, etc. Write down the two names, the event, and the date the event happened.
Putting the family tree together
1) Put your child’s name on the bottom, and work your way up.
2) You and your spouse are next, then your parents, your grand parents, and so on, as far back in the family history as you plan to go.
3) Have your child draw a large tree on the poster board, and then let them enter the names and dates you recorded on the index cards.
4) If you have them, include pictures next to the names.
Learning how to make a family tree is a great school project, or for a scout troop. If you’re going to do it as a group, ask the parents to get the information together prior to the meeting where you’ll be making the tree itself, so the children simply have to put it all together and decorate the poster board at the meeting itself. Once the family tree is complete, let your child hang it in his or her room, to remind them of where they came from, and the rich family history they’re lucky enough to be an important part of.