Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Advice on teaching youth about family history?

Our ward is about to embark on some teaching and training on family history, the temple, covenants, etc. The whole nine yards! I know has some nice resources on their "youth" page. Any other advice? Who out there has taught youth about family history, especially in response to Elder Bednar's talk?


  1. Oh I can't wait to hear what others are doing with this! We are struggling to figure out how to spark an interest in our youth. One thing that we have scheduled is an Indexing night. I am anxious to do something with family history where the youth can be successful, finish something, and be independent. (I think it's very hard for kids to do family history: their parents or grandparents are the ones with all the materials and research!)

    Indexing, I think, is an awesome way to participate in this responsibility. We plan to provide multiple laptops, as well as iPads and smartphones, since Indexing is also available through an app (which works surprisingly well!). I think doing indexing is such a real way to get to know families and people from the past. We'll see what the youth think...

  2. Our ward FH consultant said the kids enjoyed tracing their line back on newfamilysearch to find kings, Adam & Eve, etc. I think it helps to have them each connect with a particular ancestor, know their story and photo, if there were a way to have them come with that info already.

  3. has lots of resources too. I liked Elder Bednar's message that the youth can take this up on their own and get a ton done. I think teaching about the Abrahamic Covenant is really important here, I'm just curious how to go about doing it! :)

  4. I think showing them how to search for people (like their grandparents, or great-grandparents) on and then finding those people on census records or marriage records is a great way to make it personal for them. And then you can start inputting people into so that the info is available for any other relatives/people to see, too (and also to submit for ordinances if they'd like).

    If they like photography, another great hobby is to go to cemeteries and photograph graves, and then upload the pictures to Like indexing, it helps others with their family history, and it's fun to find your own ancestors on there, too.

    Indexing is something super easy for anybody to do, too. I've heard of lots of ward youth groups or YSA groups getting together with laptops/tablets for indexing parties.

  5. Our ward just finished teaching all the YM/YW the Sunday School family history course. We suspended their regular classes and for eight weeks, they all met together and were taught by a 19-year old (also new to family history) who is leaving in a couple of weeks for his mission. We also called a family history consultant specifically to work with the youth. Last Thursday, we all went to the temple to perform baptisms for the names they had found. We only had one young woman who did not bring a family name to the temple. Our goal is for your youth to continue to bring names to the temple each time we go.

    For some of our youth, it is more difficult to find a family name. We have paired the youth up--so each one can have the experience to help find a family name (even if it is not from their own family). Another intention is so that they can encourage and support each other in their efforts. We wanted there to be some accountability between the youth for their efforts.

    We have also talked to them about indexing and about learning about their ancestors. Maybe they can't find anyone to add to their family tree at this time. However, they can spend time learning more about their ancestors' lives.

    Finally, we talked to them about trying again and again. Even if someone couldn't find great great grandpa's name in the past, doesn't mean that the information isn't available now through new records being made available.

    Good luck everyone!

  6. I just taught our young women a lesson on Family History and Elder Bednar's talk this month. I started by having each girl answer (on a note card) 'Why am I interested in family history?' because we all are! Whether they have 8 reasons or only one they need to find something that will motivate them to talk to their living ancestors, make time to get on the computer, and use the many resources available these days to get the word done!
    Thankfully Elder Bednar aided in giving these girls reasons to be interested in family history. In his October 2011 conference talk he gave us three blessings that come from responding to the invitation to do the work. 1. Our love and gratitude for our ancestors will increase. 2. Our testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. 3. Elder Bednar promises protection against the intensifying influence of the adversary. I closed my lesson by having each girl write these reasons beside those of their own.
    Each of the Ensigns from 2012 (so far) make mention of family history. (Included is a call for indexers and the website for short instructional videos on what can be accomplished in 5 minutes in our family histories). Encourage the youth to speak to their living grandparents, and other relatives. It's so fun to learn the stories of 1st jobs, dating/marriage, namesakes, world travel, times of war, summer pass-times, etc... from those who know and will not be able to share their stories so personally soon. Even turning to their own parents is a start to feel the Spirit of Elijah.
    I'm not great at my own family history and hope the zeal of the youth will inspire me because they can figure out the programs online very quickly and have so much available, saved for a time they could use it most!! I have a testimony our youth will be the Saviors on Mount Zion as we near the coming of Jesus Christ again on the earth. Help them feel it too.


If you wish to comment anonymously, please comment with a made-up name.