July 16, 2007

Ancestor Cards for Children


Recently I've been mulling over how to present the genealogy I've done on our family so that it would grab my 9 year old grandson's attention. My good friend Illya of Genealogy Today suggested I use a baseball or hockey card format with one ancestor per card.

I loved the idea and created cards 6 cm x 9 cm. Each card features one ancestor's picture or a picture representing that ancestor. The back of each card has ancestor stats - their relationship to my grandchildren, date and place of birth, date and place of death, spouse's name, parents' names and a tiny blurb about that person (hopefully something unique or of interest to an 9 year old!)

After laminating the cards, I presented them to my grandson and granddaughter (who is 7) when they came for their annual summer week long holiday with us. They loved them and not only read every bit of information about each ancestor, they began figuring out who was the oldest ancestor.... who died at the oldest age... who died at the youngest age... which parents went with which ancestor.. and so on.

Then they decided to play a game, which we called simply "Ancestor Game". They each chose an ancestor card and played it, with whoever had the furthest back ancestor winning both cards. The next day they begged me to make more cards!! I now have 48 cards made for them with many more to go. To add even more interest I also created cards that were not direct ancestors, but had some small claim to fame or something historical or interesting to a child. Thank goodness for my Family Tree Maker Genealogy Program which tells me if a person is a 3rd cousin 5x removed or something else!

We decided I should also make double cards wherever possible, that is, two cards for one ancestor but with different photos or representative pictures on each one. Then they can play "Go Fish for Ancestors".

It was a genealogist's dream come true - for 5 days they asked for "more ancestor stories please Grandma!" and "Can you make us more Ancestor Cards?" When their mom called to see how they were doing, the first words out of my grandson's mouth were "Mom, you won't believe about one of our ancestors!" and he proceeded to quote from the Ancestor Cards.

I thought I'd like to share this in case you are looking for something to capture your little one's interest, because it was fabulous and my grandchildren loved it!

18 comments:

Tex said...

What a great idea. I'm getting ready to be "the speaker" at family reunion, and I was worried that the kids would be restless. Making some handouts for the kids in the form of ancestor cards will be just the ticket.

Now, if I can only find the time. :-)

Susan said...

That has got to be the one of the cleverest ideas ever! I love it and will be making some ancestor cards of my own...think of the possibilities for family reunions!

Mimi Moss said...

What a wonderful idea! You are terrific. This needs to be shared with lots of enthusiasts with the same generation gaps. I'll pass this along and certainly try it with my family.
Thanks for sharing!!!
cbm

Dennis said...

What a wonderful idea!!! I never thought of this but I do it as an adult, I trade pictures that I have with other researcher & I am always trading up ;-)

gerryruth said...

I hope you see this after all this time. This is such a great idea. Do you have a Template for the information on the back? I'm not great at designing but a template would be so helpful.

Thanks so much for this idea

Genealogy Blogger said...

Hello Gerryruth - I put the person's dates of birth and death (plus locations), who the parents were, the ancestor's occupation, who they married and one interesting fact about that person.

I add other info if there is room and if I know more.

The Grandmother Here said...

Do you remember the game "Guess Who"? Two players each have a frame with 24 pictures of faces. Each player asks questions to try to figure out which person the other player is. "Are you wearing a hat?" "Do you have blue eyes?" And they flip down the people who can't be the one they are trying to find. I changed the pictures from cartoons to family members. "Did you attend BYU?" "Were you born in Alabama?" Great fun!!

Kristin McAllister said...

What a great idea! I'm trying to pass along my genealogy finds and love of ancestry to my daughter and this really fits the bill!

Leaves of Heritage Genealogy said...

This is a great idea, and might actually get my middle child interested in our family history. I also like the Guess Who? mentioned by The Grandmother Here.

I think when I make these for Go Fish, or any other use, I will have one set with a picture of my ancestors at a young age with the second set having pictures with them at an older age. Lots of possibilites.

Take care,
Angela Kraft

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Greatest idea I've gotten from Pinterest yet! I love it! Always trying to think of something to do with the little ones, and like some of the others, this sounds like a great idea for the summer family reunion. But the best thing is getting them interested in their ancestors.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Glad you all like this idea! The grandkids love playing games with these cards. And it does get them interested in their ancestors.

Cheryl Ann said...

Wonderful idea!! I'm definately going to do this. But I think it's a wonderful idea for adults too. I have many people in my family that are interested in our family genealogy. However, when you hand them a stack of papers full of charts and trees their eyes glaze over and they lose interest. Grab their interest right away with pictures and the most interesting people or stories in your family. Like the civil war ancestor I found who was runover by a train picking strawberries. Or the cousin I found who was a gangster and died in a machine gun shootout (after he attempted to kill the local KKK leader). Or the ancestor who was over 300lbs. Grab their attention and reel them in! Thanks for the idea.

jensen.colette@gmail.com said...

This is such a great idea I can't wait to get started. I think I will have the kids 12 & 13 help with the project.
Thanks

Sandra Ruffing said...

I have no kids yet but I'm going to make these NOW and start a family tradition with my kids! Thanks so much. Glad I stubmled upon this post.

Betty Taylor said...

What a fabulous idea! My grandsons would probably love something like this!

Mitci said...

Wonderful idea! For the Go Fish idea, putting the ancestors together in family groups maybe? Makes me wish our grandkids were little again!

Julianne said...

I love this and want to try it with my great niece and nephews, however, I am having some trouble visualizing how to play the "match" game or "go fish" if the picture is on one side and the information is on the other side like a baseball card. If you put both on one side, then the printing is too small for the younger ones to understand. Any suggestions for someone who is creatively challenged?

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Julianne - I should have explained it better! I made 2 sets of cards.

For Go Fish and Match game everything is on one side.The printed info is very limited (as you noted) with Name of ancestor, plus year of birth and death and locations if you want to add those.

If it is your grandchildren playing you could add the relationship - such as "2nd great grandmother" That of course changes if you have young children and they are the ones playing the game. It then becomes "Great Grandmother"

Hope this helps and have fun!