Genealogy Wise

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As genealogists we often focus on those that are older in our families. I understand where this comes from, get all we can from them before anything happens, etc. My question for all you members is this...as we all get older, how do we get the younger generations interested or involved in doing genealogical work to keep the ball rolling, so to speak?! ideas, anyone?!

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I started investigating my family history when I was 14 and found that the older members of my family were disinterested, or at least unenthusiastic to dwell in the past. But maybe my experience is atypical!!

Generally I think younger people are looking to the future rather than the past, bringing up families and holding down busy lifestyles. As we get older we find more time and inclination to dig up the past.

But I do think it is important that young people develop a respect for the wealth of experience of the elders in their family, or otherwise when they are older themselves it will be too late.
I'm in my 30s and started doing the lines of my father and maternal grandmother about 3 years ago and found that many of my relatives didn't know their family history. In fact, when my grandmother died at 92, they needed the research I did to figure out their relationships to the people buried in the family plot, so that my grandmother could be buried there.

I have 2 kids and 2 nephews, all under age 6, and I'm hoping that they will have some interest when they are old enough to ask questions, and probably I will start soon by showing them on maps where they come from. I have a good collection of old photos so my kids will be surrounded by their ancestors and the won't be a mystery. :)
You could start by telling any interesting stories... I'm 24 and I didn't start getting really interested until about three months ago, when I called my mom and asked about grandma. It eventually lead to the interesting story about my great grandfather losing his arm in a mill accident and meeting my great grandma on his way to work [where he'd stop and help her chop wood, apparently with one arm!]. That story was enough to get me interested, my biggest goal is to find a news article supporting his accident. I think if I had heard that story a few years earlier I would have been just as interested!
My 3 sons have not shown much interest in the family history, so I decided to get their wives interested. I now have 2 of my daughter's-in-law learning how to do research.When my grandchildren are old enough (they are 3, 3 mons, and one on the way) I will tell them family stories and hope that at least one of them will catch the bug.
My 11yr old daughter is interested. So to teach her about handling family history, I've set up a secondary family website for one of our lines at FamilyLobby.com, while keeping our main information on our computer and at myfamily.com (ancestry.com). She puts in the information at FamilyLobby and is starting to help me with name searches in long lists. I think I'll take her with me when I go to the family history center as well.
Some youth are interested. I'm almost 15 and rather quite interested in genealogy. And I have a few friends interested.

What got me interested was all of the interesting family stories I heard and such, as well as hearing things about this relative and that relative. Reading the family history books and looking at the old pictures especially prompted me to start piecing together the puzzle.
I know the Boy scouts do a genealogy badge that I feel is so cool. Perhaps we need people to get out in the schools at maybe middle school level introducing genealogy, & history classes too! High school is when I got bit by the historical bug, by a history teacher, where i collected obituaries and then I went to a local meeting. Introduce the collecting of their family together, & writing it down. Some people hate to write, so we have to make it fun, introducing the fun of library & referencing books/City directories & connecting that with their family. I call it a treasure hunt that will last a lifetime! It's a pasttime that you can work on for as long or short & be amszed at what you find!! Over teh years, You find so much, & you can find more when you visit with your relatives at say at yearly get togethers too! It really gives you something to talk about, really, & helps you get to know your relatives, in the past, & connecting to the present day too! Pictures do that too, if you think about it don't they!? Cathy
Well, I suppose like anything else, it's all about 'knowing your customer'. What would get a youngster, a teen, a recent college grad interested in genealogy? I think one arrow in the quiver would be social networking sites. For someone younger, I think they'd find it cool to chat with a distant cousin in another country or another state. They could compare interests in music, food, whatever. If there are any ancestors who fought in a war, that might appeal to some younger folks. With Google Earth, you can look up addresses where ancestors lived, or where distant cousins now live, and see what it looks like right on your computer. With sites like Flickr.com and Panoramio.com, you can really get a sense of what other places look like--architecture, rivers, whatever.

Perhaps one way is to just ask for help, as in, "You know Billy, you're so good at finding things on the computer, could you help me to blah blah blah." And I think that anytime that family history can be tied into a paper or project for school is a bonus. Others here have mentioned that it was interesting family stories that sparked their own interest in genealogy. I grew up in the absence of those stories...family history wasn't discussed...we're all Americans now and that's that. So, step one, share the most interesting stories with your younger relatives. Or, for example, "I was emailing with your cousin in such-and-such country the other week...." Maybe you'll get a "What?? I have cousins where??"

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