Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why aren't "the youth" more interested in family history?

Have you ever had a youth family history flop? Getting young people interested in researching their family seems so hard! You get them on the computer and tell them everything they need to do and they just sit there, looking at it, not doing anything!!! Why do they do that???

I've worked with young children for the last 6 years and I also have two of my own. One thing I've learned while working with children is that if what I'm trying to teach is not working it's not the children who are wrong. If children aren't responding to me, I have to change the way I'm teaching them. They are not going to change.

I believe the same principles apply to teaching youth about family history. If they're not responding to the way you're teaching them, change the way you're teaching them

There's no sense in complaining that youth are just not interested in family history work. And it's certainly not a good reason to give up. Many of them aren't interested in math either, but you're not going to just let them stop learning math. You're going to keep trying until they get it. Family history is just as important.

So how can you change the way you teach them? What works?

The only method that I've ever found that works is stepping back. Ask them to do something and don't tell them how to do it. Then ask them to teach someone else.

If youth start doing family history on a regular basis it's almost impossible for them to not be interested. It's naturally exciting, engaging, and fun. When our teaching reflects that, they can really learn.

Have you had an success teaching youth about family history? What works for you?


  1. Courtney,

    I love your blog's concept! I wasn't 16 when I began my family history research, but I wasn't as old as I thought I would be when I began to "do" genealogy. I was actually a 30-something mom of five children when I began my family history research. And I'm so glad I began when I did and didn't wait until later.

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks so much for mentioning my blog on your blog! I really appreciate it!
      I was looking through your English ancestry and noticed some familiar surnames from Massachusetts. Maybe we're long lost cousins!