AJC file photo

Magazine offers suggestions for increasing kids’ interest in genealogy

Genealogists often bemoan the fact that their children or other younger relatives are not interested in family history.

An article in the September issue of Family Tree Magazine, “Think of the Children” by Sunny Jane Morton, highlights seven methods to spark interest in youths. One is using props to tell a story, showing family artifacts or heirlooms as you talk about a relative. Taking kids on a cemetery tour is another way. I think that’s what got me interested, although I’m not sure my grandmother had that in mind. Interviewing a loved one is Morton’s third example, and these can be recorded easier now than ever before.

Using a graphic example of an ethnic roots pie chart was suggested as number four. That would require having done a DNA test, but showing someone his or her ancestral makeup would clearly hit home. The fifth idea was exploring old technology, from trains to typewriters to help spark a discussion. With the dearth of cursive writing instruction, showing kids how to write in cursive or reading old handwriting was the sixth suggestion. If the next generation can’t write cursive, how can they read old documents, let alone rally to preserve them?

Her final example was to engage kids in old-fashioned chores and handicrafts. One might visit a local museum or living history farm, or just anyone’s farm to begin that discussion. In Georgia, one could visit the Atlanta History Center’s Tullie Smith Complex, some of the historic houses in Roswell, go further afield to the Agrirama near Tifton, or Westville in Columbus when it reopens. The author’s goal is well met in giving us some good ideas.

Read the will carefully

Carefully reading a will and understanding its full legal implications is something many genealogists overlook. My ancestor Nathaniel Perry died in 1790 in Franklin County, N.C. The last clause in his will was “All the rest and residue of my estate to be equally divided among all my children.” Due to other bequests, this division did not take place until 1808. A long time to wait for your share.

September 23 Open House by Afro-American Genealogical Society

The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society will host an open house on September 23 from 11:30 to 4:30 at the Metropolitan Branch of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, 1332 Metropolitan Parkway. Focus will be on members’ family tree research. For more details, see aahgsatl.org.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O.Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or gagensociety.org.