Field trips can help families see and experience family history first hand. Whether it's across the country or just down the street, field trips are a great way to bring family history alive.
One idea is to create your own "Amazing Race" experience. Give out clues and travel to pre-arranged locations that have historical significance for the family. Between destinations, listen to a tape or CD about the significant ancestor. Keep the traveling within a 300-mile radius and the travel time to one day. At the final location, families gather and eat together.
Another field trip involves touring the cemetery.
"Visiting family grave sites shows children that their ancestors were real people," Familytreemagazine.com says. "They'll also learn about the clues found in cemeteries, a lesson they'll appreciate if they start doing genealogical research on their own. Point out ancestors' tombstones first, then other family members'. Explain everyone's relationships to each other, and how they're related..."
Four suggestions from Familysearch.org:
- Visit places your ancestors lived or worked.
- Visit museums.
- Visit living history exhibits, such as a historically re-created village or a historical farm that shows how your ancestors lived.
- Visit and celebrate your family’s ethnic heritage at a cultural festival.
- Retrace the migration route of your ancestors. Travel to the towns and homes where your ancestors lived.
- Attend an historical reenactment if you live in a part of the country where these enactments are performed. They offer a wonderful visual opportunity for children to learn history.
Barry J. Ewell is author of Family Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips, and Tricks for Discovering your Family History and founder of MyGenShare.com, an online educational website for genealogy and family history.