At some point in your child’s elementary education they’re going to come home with an assignment to build their family tree. I have included in this post a free printable family tree chart that helps make it easy for kids to learn how to build your family tree. It’s a great way for kids to learn more about their family and where they come from, but it can be about more than just genealogy.
Building your family tree together is a wonderful opportunity to tell your kids your favorite family stories and talk about some of your best memories with the family members they’re just starting to hear about. Working with your child to build your family tree together can make for some memorable quality family time. Here are some great steps to get you started.
How to Build Your Family Tree
Gather Your Family Artifacts
This includes old photos, letters, newspaper clippings, journals, and anything else you may have hiding in the attic or garage. Find a place to work together where you can spread everything out, like the dining room table. Go through everything you’ve gathered and share stories with your child about the people in old photos or talk about the other memorabilia you’re holding on to.
Talk to Relatives
There are probably dozens of untold family stories that have never been brought up because there hasn’t been an opportunity or reason. Now’s the time to talk to your relatives and ask questions about family members you don’t know or never had a chance to meet. Your kids can write a list of questions and interview their relatives to get some background on their family.
With so many genealogy websites available, you can find a wealth of missing information online. In addition to searching relationship information, you can find birth and death records, newspaper clippings, and official government documents. Sites like ancestry.com make it fun to discover more about your extended family and family origins.
Write it Down
Write down everything you already know; this will allow you to see where information might be missing. Once you know what’s missing, you’ll know where to focus your search, what questions to ask, and who to talk to.
Get Organized With This Printable Family Tree Chart
Organize all the information you find based on who they are, who they’re related to, and what generation they are. This way you can put together a complete timeline of your family history in a way that makes sense. You can use my printable family tree chart to help organize the information you have gathered and present it in a clear way.
Use the printable family tree chart just as it is and fill in full names or you can even add more detailed information to the chart including where the family member was from. You may also wish to decorate the printable family tree chart by adding your favorite inspirational family quote to the bottom of the printable family tree template. You can then frame it as a great keepsake of the work your child did in collecting the information to fill it out.
Download the printable family tree chart above.
Share Your Research
No doubt your child will need to present their findings in a class project, but why not share your newly found wealth of family information with the rest of your family as well. Your parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins may not be aware of all the information you’ve accumulated about the family they come from.
Put together a presentation of family history that you can share with your other family members. Who knows, it may spark a memory for them that had been long buried and can add to your family tree history. If you family does not live close by, you can have your child write a letter and mail it out with the printable family tree chart.
Building your family tree can be a fun and interactive learning experience that you can share with your kids; one that you’ll both always remember. Share how your example family tree chart turned out with #familyfocusblog!