Genealogy Games for Thanksgiving: Simple, fun for all ages, and family tree valuable!
After my most recent post on genealogy and Thanksgiving a couple of people asked me to explain how I incorporate genealogy into our Thanksgiving. So here we go.
Everyone in our family understands that I live by the adage, which I have taped up on our kitchen cabinet, “I used to have a life then I discovered genealogy.” When you combine my love of genealogy with my love of Thanksgiving it is a dream come true for me. As a result, my family allows me a certain amount of leeway to squeeze in a bit of genealogy and family history whenever we gather. This is especially true at Thanksgiving. Now that I think about it, this leeway could most likely be due to the fact I roast the turkeys for us all
My Thanksgiving genealogy/family history game is focused on being something simple, able to be participated in by guests of all ages, and does not take too much time. Here is how we do it.
In advance of the holiday I prepare a single sheet of paper for our game. The first year I did this I kept it very simple and it was only one question. After seeing what a hit the game was, I expanded it to three questions, but never over one page. I keep the questions simple and light. You can see in the image below my first year’s form.
I print out a copy of the blank form for each guest. I put these, with a box of pens on the table that holds our hors d’oeuvres. I announce that each person is to fill out the form, put there initials in the corner, fold their finished form, and not share their responses with anyone. I also explain that these forms need to be turned in to me prior to filling their dinner plate! Needless to say I get 100% participation!
I hold the collected forms until we are ready to move from the meal to our desserts. This gives us a chance to ‘digest’ a bit and prepare for the onslaught of pies and other goodies!
I then begin reading the responses one by one. As I finish each page I ask everyone to chime in with who they think the author was of that particular form. This can result in even more memories being shared, more stories, and some friendly interchanges between family members too.
When I am finished we all move on to the desserts.
I keep all the forms. My intention was always to take these responses and add them to each family member’s profile on our electronic family tree we maintain at MyHeritage.com, but what happened right from the get go surprised even me. Almost as soon as I had finished reading the last answers someone piped up and asked if I would type them all up and share them with everyone. As you can guess, I was thrilled to do it. After all it is our stories that cement in our memories, nourish our family trees, and draw in even the most skeptical!
It is now standard operating procedure for our family to expect a game about family history and genealogy each holiday and to have the responses shared (via my favorite, Dropbox).
I’d share this year’s game, but I know family read my blog so I have to keep it secret for now!
I hope you’ll pick a game and weave your passion for genealogy and family history into it as our family has. It really is a highlight of our holidays now!
Onward To Our Past®