Introducing your children to their heritage when they're young is a great way to stimulate their interest in family history and the relatives who came before them. You can help your children create a family tree that will have their names, birthdates and birthplaces along with yours and their grandparents'. Start with a simple chart that contains information about three generations of your family. The result will be a keepsake that might lead to a new interest in family history.
Write on a piece of scrap paper the full names, birthdates and birthplaces of children, parents and grandparents who will be included in the family tree. This way there will be no doubt when you proceed to write the information on your chart.
Turn the paper for your family tree horizontally. Write the names, dates and birthplaces for the three generations in three columns of equal width across the page. Using the ruler, draw three faint pencil lines in the first column on the left, centering them on the page. Put a number 1 in front of the first line. Leave room to add three lines for each additional child, or plan to create a chart for each child. All children in this generation are No. 1.
Neatly write each child's name (first, middle and last) on the top line, birthdate (month, day and year) on the second and birthplace (town and state) on the third.
Do the same for the parents as you did for the children. In the second (center) column on the family tree chart, draw light pencil lines with the ruler first. Place the father's information higher than the child's, and the mother's lower. Write a number 2 before the line with the father's name. Write a number 3 before the line with the mother's name.
Do the same for the grandparents in the third column. Draw lines for the father's father, birthdate and birthplace first, followed by the father's mother. Next draw lines for the mother's father with his information. Lastly, add lines for the mother's mother.
Draw a bracket connecting the parents to the child to their left. Draw a second bracket connecting the parents to the father on their left. Draw a final bracket connecting the parents to the mother on their left. The brackets show the relationships between parents and child.
Erase any guidelines when you're finished.
- 8 1/2-by-11 sheet of paper
- Piece of scrap paper
You can make your family tree as elaborate as you wish by adding a border or writing the family name in elegant script at the top. Try using parchment paper for your family tree to give it an aged look. Let your creation lead to a discussion of your family's history. Make copies for grandparents and encourage them to tell their grandchildren about their own childhood activities.