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August 9, 2008

Genealogy Crossword Puzzles and Games

Ali and Lilith come for their annual week on Grandma and Grandpa's farm soon. Since Ali, age 10, is our budding next-generation genealogist and Lilith is interested in ancestor stories, I always like to have a genealogy activity ready for them.

Last year I organized a very successful Ancestor Cemetery Hunt. This year we'll repeat that at a different cemetery but I wanted something more sedentary, something we could work on together but inside.

After hunting around the 'net for Genealogy crossword puzzles or word searches, I gave up and created my own. This is an image of part of the Genealogy Word Search I created. It's pretty easy, just make a list of genealogy related words and start putting them into an Excel page.

Next add letters randomly in the empty squares. In this photo I left the Genealogy words bolded for my answer sheet. In the final Word Search page I printed for the grandchildren, all letters are the same non-bolded look.

The Genealogy Crossword puzzle is not proving as easy to create. It was pretty easy to come up with the puzzle and the clues (definitions). However trying to add the superscript numbers in Excel didn't work for me. Trying to do this in Word also did not work. The image on the left shows my first draft attempt. Some numbers are superscript, some are normal. I could not get them to set to superscript! I would of course resize the boxes to be equal sizes, and black in all the unused squares before printing this off. This was to be my answer sheet, the final Crossword puzzle would have empty squares to be filled in.

I could add the numbers by hand and that is likely what I'll end up doing. Because when all is said and done, I only have so much patience. If anyone knows how I can create nice little superscript numbers, please post details here and save me from tearing my hair out!


Miriam said...

Lorine, Google the following search term:

"crossword puzzle" (creator OR generator)

I found all kinds of places online that will create one for you. You then print it up and presto! gizmo! It's all set.

Saves a lot of time. (One of the little tricks you learn working for a school district!)

looking4ancestors said...

I have used a website called "Create Your Own Word Search" at
They also have a crossword puzzle maker at

You can enter any list of words that you want to use and it will generate a puzzle for you.
Hope this helps.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Here is an option for superscripting:

- you can't have different fonts or sizes in the same cell in Excel, at least not that I know of.

- once you feel the puzzle is done, select the puzzle, copy and paste into a Word document

- it will appear as a Word table which you can then edit to superscript the numbers. You can also shade the blank spots black.

wendy said...

Neat idea!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Thanks to everyone for their helpful tips. I ended up going to the amored penguin site and created a really super Genealogy Crossword puzzle.

I created a Word Search too but it won't print on one page so I'm scratching that and doing more Crosswords. :-)

I had tried the WORD Table feature but it would only superscript *some* of my numbers, not all! I have no idea what I'm doing wrong...


Apple said...

I love the Ancestor Hunt Cemetery idea! We'll give it a try here in the fall.

Jim S said...

There's a genealogy word search and crossword puzzle at

Regards, Jim