Learning & Activities


This is How to Make the Best Family Tree

This is How to Make the Best Family Tree

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 attentively while the story unfolds for them. What better story to tell your children then the story of their family?  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. This is a great way to generate all sorts of conversations about family and history.

How to Make a Family Tree

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!

You'll need:

Index cards
Poster board
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 grandparents, 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 or scout troop project. 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. That way, 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.

How to Make a Family Tree Online

These days, many people want the ease and convenience of doing a family tree online. If you're interested in having a digital family tree, you have a lot of options! Ancestry is the most popular service for building a family tree, but to get the most out of it you'll need a subscription. You can still view your family tree on the free plan, so it might be worth it to pay for a subscription for as long as you're making your tree. Then, simply cancel your subscription when you no longer need access to all of Ancestry's features.

There are several free family tree builders out there, but they lack access to the extensive databases that more popular sites, like Ancestry, have. These free family tree builders are great if you already have tons of information on your family. If you lack this information, though, choosing a family tree builder that can grant you access to archives can be really helpful.

By making a digital family tree, you can usually grant access to more people than just yourself. This is really useful if you want to get grandma and grandpa in on the fun, or if you want to pass your family tree on to cousins or siblings. A digital family tree can also go back many generations, making it a great way to tell your family's history.

Whether you make a paper or digital family tree, this is a great opportunity to bond with your child and to inform them about the experiences their ancestors have had. This is a great way to spend a quiet afternoon, or a whole weekend! Your child will come out of this experience more informed and with a love for their family's history.

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