Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our Favorite Holiday Tradition

Since before we were born, our family has been making gingerbread houses. Every Christmas season, the smell of homemade gingerbread fills our house. 

Mom bakes it fresh and sets out bowls full of candies and frosting. 

It is always one of the best nights of the year. This tradition started with our Grandma Hardman ... I wonder how many generations it will continue? Here's Grandma's amazing recipe:

Christmas 2005 (oops... Becca blinked):

Christmas 2016:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Crossroads for Kids"

The Crossroads just arrived in our mailbox!

It's a lovely publication put out by the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) for its members, and it's interesting to adult family historians .... and now ...... TO KIDS!

In the Fall 2016 issue, I've contributed an article about involving children in family history that I hope lots and lots of adults will read! We've just got to involve the kids!!! I'm pretty passionate about this.

Also in this issue, they've introduced a fantastic new resource for UGA members, the "Crossroads for Kids" section. Just open the journal and flip through the pages until you find...

You'll find a few pages of genealogical journal written FOR KIDS (and their parents, grandparents, and teachers), including fun games, activities, and tips. If you're not a UGA member yet, head over to to learn more.


P.S. I currently serve on the UGA Board of Directors because I value the role of societies in the genealogical community, and because UGA has an education-focused mission benefitting genealogists of all ages and abilities. Feel free to ask me about the benefits of UGA membership.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Innovative Genealogy Education

This week, a Forbes post highlighted Ann Miura-Ko, "the most powerful woman in startups."  She made some fantastic remarks about education and the future success of our children.  The four strategies she recommends for "innovative education" include:

  1. Identify children’s passions, and teach them through that passion.
  2. Teach kids through family history
  3. Teach kids why we do things, not just what to do.
  4. Be a mentor
  5. Brilliant! As a parent and genealogy teacher, all four of these strategies make me excited. Let me apply Ann's strategies to an "innovative genealogy education":

    1. Identify children’s passions, and teach them through that passion. Any genealogist who has tried to teach children knows that it's only successful if we approach it from the right angle.  If the kid/student is not passionate about genealogy, we need to look for the element of their family history that does excite them and take it from there.  Example: My son loves basketball (and any sport or competition).  He's passionate about it.  The first place to point him, then, is to the story of his great-grandfather, who played ball in college (Go, BYU Cougars!)  He can connect with his ancestor because they shared the same passion for basketball.  

    We can take it a step further by using my son's love for competition to make genealogy a game.  How about a family indexing competition? Who can find Grandpa on the census first?  Ready, set, GO!

    2. Teach kids through family history. I'm not sure the local school districts are thinking about this as much as they should, but I hope parents are.  Family history empowers children.  It gives them perspective.  They can learn so many things from their own family's history ... it strengthens them and builds their character!  They can learn from plain-old history, too, but when we put their family into the context of that history, children's eyes are opened and they can relate.  History teachers, take note.

    3. Teach kids why we do things, not just what to do. I hope this is obvious. If you're not teaching your children WHY family history is important, it will be tough for them to find motivation. I can show my teenager how to find his ancestor in an online database, but until he knows why the record exists, what it's useful for, he'll be bored out of his head.  He's likely to forget the process.  Why do we research our families?  You might ask yourself this question before you try to get the kids involved. And there are a hundred good answers to that question (that will have to be a post for another day).

    4. Be a mentor. They can't do it without you.  Children need parents and teachers to guide them, to show them which activities in life have lasting value.  They need instruction.  They don't need you to do it for them, but they do need your support.  Mentors help and inspire people.  That's the kind of genealogy teacher and parent I want to be.

    Ann Miura-Ko may have been strategizing about how to make successful, innovative business leaders out of children, but I think her principles have excellent application for their education in general, and certainly for genealogy education.

    For more of my thoughts regarding involving children in family history, see my article "Involving Children in Family History" in this fall's issue of UGA's quarterly publication Crossroads.


    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    And the winner is ...

    (Drum roll, please.)

    (Kim, we have emailed & messaged you on Facebook.  Please respond within 48 hours to claim your pass!)  Thanks to everyone who entered!  RootsTech is going to be AMAZING this year, and we hope to see you there.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    Little ones love stories and pictures

    Brent and I cleaned out the storage room last weekend. We found a stack of random family photos. Eek! Those need to be digitized and organized, I know, but there's only so much time in the day. We'll rally the kids to help us with that project on another weekend, but for today, it's time to thumb through them and pick out treasures for a bedtime story.
    Got one! Daddy had James' full attention as he showed him a picture of himself at James' age and told him the story about the fish he'd caught.
    Kids love to hear stories about things their parents did when they were young. And pictures make the stories even better. What pictures are hiding in your storage room waiting to be pulled out for a bedtime story?

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    We're giving away a free full-conference RootsTech pass!


    Oh boy, this is exciting!!  As RootsTech 2017 Ambassadors, we've been given one FREE FULL-CONFERENCE PASS to give away to one lucky winner.  Entering our contest is easy:

    1. Watch our Giveaway video and make a comment, either on this post or on our YouTube video page.  Tell us why YOU want to go to RootsTech 2017! (If you comment on this post, be sure you are on our new website: and not on our old blogspot site).

    2. Like our Facebook page. (

    To earn extra entries:

    • Follow us on Instagram (@thegenealogykids)
    • Browse our blog and comment on any of our other posts
    Please share our website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram account with your friends & family so they can get ideas for involving children in genealogy!

    Our contest winner will be announced on Thanksgiving Day, so be sure to enter before then!  Good luck!

    • This contest is for a RootsTech plus Innovator Summit 2017 4-day pass valued at $299.
    • The conference is at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, February 8-11, 2017.  Travel, food, and lodging are your responsibility.
    • The pass includes over 200 classes, keynotes, all sessions, expo hall access & evening events.
    • If you have already purchased a pass, you will be refunded by RootsTech upon winning this contest.
    • Children ages 8 and older are invited to Family Discovery Day on Saturday, Feb. 11th only. Family Discovery Day is free (but you must register).  Please only enter this giveaway contest if you intend to attend the full conference.
    • For more information about RootsTech, CLICK HERE.

    Thursday, September 15, 2016

    Good news ... We're RootsTech ambassadors again!

    The Genealogy Kids blog is thrilled to once again join the team of RootsTech Ambassadors!  We're excited for the conference and will keep you posted on conference information and details as we get them!

    RootsTech 2017 will take place in Salt Lake City on February 8-11.  Don't miss it!  Kids 8 and older will once again be invited to attend Family Discovery Day (Saturday, Feb. 11), which is free!  Registration is now open.  Here are some happy memories from our Family Discovery Day visit last year ...

    Sunday, September 11, 2016

    Playing "Ancestor"

    Kids love to pretend.  They play house, store, school.  They pretend to be firefighters or cowboys or anything else they can imagine.  This week at our house, the kids are playing "ancestor."  All you need are a few stories or details about your ancestor's life, and you can pretend you're them!  Here's an example from our YouTube channel:

    Sunday, September 4, 2016

    Create your ancestor's house on Minecraft!

    Hey! Sam, here. I like Minecraft. I'm pretty good at creating cool things like rollercoasters...
    But today I'm building something new. I'm creating my great, great, great Grandpa's house.  This is Ole Gulbrandsen in front of the house he built for his family:
    And this is my Minecraft version...
    What would your ancestor's house look like on Minecraft??

    Friday, August 26, 2016

    Family Roots Expo in St. George this fall!

    Anybody in St. George, UT?  This promises to be a fantastic event, and youth 8-17 are invited!

    Saturday, August 6, 2016

    Giant Family Tree

    At our family reunion this summer, we created an ENORMOUS family tree made of handprints.

    Supplies needed:

    • 1 king-sized flat sheet
    • A variety of cute fabrics
    • Iron-on "Heat-n-Bond" (bonds between two fabrics) ... we used the super strong no-sew kind
    • Each family member's hand to trace
    • Fabric marker

    We ironed the paper-backed "Heat-n-Bond" onto the fabric ahead of time, then at the reunion, we simply asked each family member to trace their hand and write their name on the back.  In our down-time at the reunion, a few of us cut out hands and pinned them to the sheet so everyone could admire the project (then we returned home and ironed them all on permanently) ... Now we have a banner to pull out at future reunions!  (I guess we'll add birds or apples or something to represent any new family members.)

    It's so fun to see each member of our large family represented on the tree.  Our extended family is about 100 people, and almost everyone made it to the reunion!  For those who couldn't come, they either traced their hand on paper and sent it to us, or they had a sibling or cousin with approximately the same size hand fill in for them.

    Each generation is represented by a different fabric.  Direct descendants of Grandma & Grandpa are in green and spouses are in yellow.

    We added 3 extra generations to our tree by writing our ancestors' names on the roots.

     And we time-stamped this massive "descendancy chart" by labeling it with the date and reunion information.

    To read more about this fantastic reunion, see these posts:
    Amazing Family Reunions
    Reunions Done Right

    Sunday, July 31, 2016

    Our Family History Staycation

    A STAYCATION is ...

    just as fun as a vacation
    lots of eating out
    no cleaning
    no packing
    sleeping in your own bed instead of paying for hotel rooms

    Add family history to your staycation and it's even better!  

    A few months ago we started brainstorming.  We decided we needed four days of staycation ... one day for each of our four family tree branches.  It wasn't hard to think of activities that we could do in honor of each branch.  Here's what we came up with:


    Our Greenhalgh family is from Nephi, Utah, in the shadows of beautiful Mt. Nebo.  Years ago, Uncle Wes built a cabin hidden in the forest on Mt. Nebo, and it's a good hike (you just have to be a Greenhalgh to know how to get there)!  

    We hiked to the cabin, and then enjoyed a nice dinner in the canyon with some of our Greenhalgh cousins.  Guess what we ate?  

    Obviously, it was Great-Grandma Greenhalgh's "Cowboy Delight" and cake.  That's what she would have served.  On our way home, we took a few rocks and flowers from Nebo down to Great-Grandma & Grandpa's grave in Nephi.


    Our Losee's lived in Provo, Utah, and Grandpa Losee was a professor at BYU.  We started the day by delivering some Lehi flowers to his grave (Grandpa grew up in Lehi, which is where we now live!) 

    We stopped by the BYU Creamery for lunch and ice cream before heading to Seven Peaks Waterpark for the afternoon (we completely justified this activity for Losee Day by remembering how much our grandma loves swimming).  

    Some of our cousins joined us and we had so much fun we didn't even take any pictures at the waterpark!  But here you can see that we enjoyed an amazing dinner at the Brick Oven restaurant afterwards.  It's good to be a Losee.


    Grandpa & Grandma Hardman joined us on this amazing day of our staycation.  We traveled to a cemetery we've never been to before, and we found the graves of Grandpa's grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandmother!

    From there we traveled to the middle of nowhere.  In honor of our many ancestors who traveled to Utah by train, and because some of our Hardman ancestors actually worked on the railroad, we visited Golden Spike national historic site.  The steam engines were awesome!

    After a nice picnic, we journeyed to the Hill Air Force Base museum to admire other awesome machines.  Engineer Grandpa (who works for Boeing at HAFB) made a great tour guide.

    To finish off Hardman Day, we found a hole-in-the-wall "chippy", The Little Taste of Britain.  Since Hardmans are British, we thought we'd give it a shot.  We can recommend the fish & chips, but we certainly cannot recommend the Steak & Kidney Pie (that must be a British tastebud that is NOT passed through the generations).


    A few of our Bischoff pioneers settled the beautiful town of Midway, Utah.  On our way to visit their graves, we enjoyed a picnic in Provo Canyon and watched dad demonstrate his fly-fishing skills (that's a Bischoff trait, for sure!)

    We boarded the Heber Creeper that afternoon and enjoyed the area via old train car.  

    And what's a trip to Heber Valley without stopping at Dairy Keen for a milkshake?  We sure needed it after the un-air-conditioned train ride and four big days!