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June 9, 2011

Making a Genealogy Video With Children

It will soon be that time of year again - when my two eldest grandchildren come to stay for their annual week-long genealogy visit. I call it a genealogy visit because every year I devise  a genealogy activity as part of their time with us.

Over the past 7 years I've managed to dream up various activities for them. We've done a Genealogy Cemetery Hunt) (looking for a specific ancestor's tombstone that I know is in the Cemetery).

We've done Ancestor Cards for Children. In this one I created a deck of playing cards with ancestor's photos and brief biography on each one.

We've done lots of other genealogy activities such as Making a Genealogy Time Capsule and creating a Genealogy Remembrance Garden, and a Genealogy Board Game.

This is the first year I've had a bit of a genealogist's block. I have been struggling to come up with a fun genealogy idea! My grandchildren are ages 13 and 11. The oldest is a boy and the younger a girl. I've been contemplating creating a genealogy video with them.

My grandson is in a theatre group and every year since he was 5, my husband has made fun videos with them. They write an outline, figure out the scenes and come up with costume ideas, then my husband films it and edits the movie to burn on to a CD ROM for them. So I was thinking that perhaps I could extend that to encompass a genealogy video this year.

My idea (it's only in its infancy stages so isn't very detailed yet) is that they can choose any ancestor they want and use an actual experience or time period from that ancestor's life to create a 10 or 15 minute video. They know the ancestor stories because they've heard them over and over since birth!

This year's genealogical activity might go like this:

They  could choose two ancestors (parent-child, husband-wife, siblings) and create a short story from an experience that is a true story and part of an ancestor's life.  Perhaps they'd like to act out their 10th great grandparents sailing to the New World in the 1630s, or walking Niagara Falls on a tightrope, or the first female pilot in Canada, or our ancestors leaving Ireland during the Famine ... the possibilities are endless.

They could choose the story and the ancestors, then take a day to come up with the different scenes and create the costumes. Then my husband could film them. The more I think about this idea the more I like it! However when I suggested it to hubs, he wasn't sure he liked how much work it involved for him - director, cameraman, props and editing!

I'll keep you posted. We still have a month or so before my two oldest grandchildren come for their visit.


gensearchdeb said...


I think this is a GREAT idea. I wish I had had a grandmother like you when I was growing up!

How techie is your grandson? Maybe he could do some of the editing? I have noticed that my 13 year old daughter has learned a lot about computers lately. He may surprise you with already knowing how to edit. Plus, he may be the next Steven Spielberg!

Again I think it is a great idea and keep us informed on the outcome.

Linda Gartz said...

These are brilliant ideas to get kids involved in a family history! I don't have grandkids (yet) but I made a 100-picture photo wall that I figure some day can be used as a "concentration" type game -- a treasure hunt to find the matching ancestor from another photo.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Linda - great idea for a concentration game! I thought of something similar using my Ancestor Cards but they were so much work to create I couldn't face making doubles!

Your idea would work well - just use photographs, and it would teach face recognition if you didn't use duplicates. Hmmmm..... thanks for the idea!