Get Kids Involved in Fun Family Heirloom Projects

Family reunions are the best occasions for recording family history, and with the empty days of summer looming, why not get the kids involved? Using the tools available at (, including the free, online edition of Family Tree Maker Web Edition, and a little help from grownups, children can easily build a family tree to be cherished at the family reunion and beyond.

Maureen A. Taylor, a genealogist and contributor, offers several tips for parents and kids who want to create a family history. “Don’t let the children know it’s educational; let that be your secret,” she advises. Taylor suggests several helpful tips to get started:

  • Show your child family photos and talk about your grandparents, aunts and uncles. You’ll be amazed at the memories that surface when you see old pictures.
  • Make a list of family members’ residences, occupations, military participation and pastimes. Capture your children’s attention by focusing on appealing family history. Sports-minded children enjoy Grandpa’s tales about being a minor league baseball player. Discover a family pioneer and your family’s links to well-known Americans at
  • Write down ancestors names and help your child create a family tree online at
  • Set up a family home page, free at Post updates and information about your reunion with queries to locate lost relatives. The page can be updated easily and is password-secure.
  • Let kids suggest reunion activities using their family knowledge. How about games like Uncle Joe played or a trivia quiz to get the family reminiscing?
  • Develop a questionnaire for kids to distribute. Ask kids to record favorite family stories to post on the home page. Ask kids to add new information to the online family tree.
  • Ask the teacher if your child may present the family history project to the class: a great way to answer the question “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”