Thursday, February 2, 2017

Are you following our new site?

Hi followers!

It's super nice of you to follow The Genealogy Kids.  We just wanted to make sure that you have been to our newly designed site at  We are transitioning away from this site and will no longer be adding content here.  Head over to, click on the "BLOG" tab, and be sure to follow us there:

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Genealogy Kids visit the new FHL Discovery Center

Wow!  FamilySearch, NICE JOB.  The new 1st floor of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is BEAUTIFUL.  We took the whole family up for a preview last week, and it passed our fun test.  All ages of our family members had a great time.

The "dress up like your ancestor" game is phenomenally entertaining...

The ability to explore what life was like for your ancestors was very visual and engaging.  This room really helps you to put yourself in their shoes.  (Plus, we loved seeing our fan chart blown up on the wall on a giant screen.)

The kids didn't want to leave because they were having so much fun recording stories in a real recording studio!

And the green screen is a party ...

All the decor is lovely, and there's plenty of room (we were very grateful to get a preview tour before the grand opening, but it will be exciting to see how many people get to enjoy this beautiful new renovation during the RootsTech conference next week.)

And here's the best part (drumroll, please) .... they have a corner for the little tikes!!!  Toys, puzzles, and FamilySearch coloring pages are tucked into a nice space for the little ones.  It's nestled behind a row of computers so mom can keep an eye on the little guys while she explores her family tree.  Seriously, this is fantastic.  Finally, the family history library is for FAMILIES.

Tip: before you take your kids to the library, make sure those who are old enough to sign up for a FamilySearch account have done so (they must be 8).  That way they can easily login when they arrive at the Discovery Center and carry around their own personal tablet to access the exhibits.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Have you tried the Little Family Tree app?

Hey kids! Hey parents! Hey grandparents! You've got to play with this app!!

Kids of all ages have been playing Little Family Tree at our house for the past few months, and we highly recommend it!

Little Family Tree uses the information and "Memories" in FamilySearch's Tree to create games that are all about YOU and your ancestors. ("Memories" include photos, and for this game it's important to make sure you have at least one photo in FamilySearch for each of the children and ancestors who you hope to see in the app.) Upon opening the app, kids can easily tell the app "who is playing today."

The app (free and paid versions) include a variety of games. The 2-year old loves the uncover-a-picture game. All he has to do is rub his chubby little finger all over the screen and he reveals pictures of his family.

There's a matching game, musical game, watercolor painting game (that one's pretty awesome), and more. It's all included in the "home" screen (which is actually a cute house:

This app is not just for the little guys. My teenagers are completely entertained by it.

The Little Family Tree app was created by the very talented Finlay family, who I've been privileged to meet at local genealogy conferences. Check out their booth in the Expo Hall at RootsTech in a few weeks. (Woohoo! RootsTech is just a few weeks away! For more RootsTech information, click HERE.)

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.