mapping family
Family Story

Mapping Family

Involving the family in family history

Mapping Family is one way I’ve found to help my family connect to family history. My goal is to make learning about family history engaging and relatable for my children. That can be challenging when the past can feel distant for them. I want to help close that distance. Enter Mapping Family.

Challenge: How might I help my kids relate and connect with their past?

I’m excited when I’m able to find an idea that does hold their interest. Mapping Family is one of the ideas that I’ve found that involves the children and gives them a good visual to connect with. 

What You’ll Need: 

A large pin-able map
multi-colored pins

How our family uses Mapping Family:

  • First, my husband, or I, introduce an ancestor. If there’s a picture of the ancestor or where they lived, we’ll show the kids. The kids can see if they can locate where the ancestor is from or places they lived on the map. Additionally, we’ll provide a few simple facts about that ancestor: like when they lived, how long they lived, there family, what they did, if they immigrated, and sometimes other historical events that would have taken place during that time period. While we don’t always have much information, we provide them with the basics of what we have discovered. We try to keep this brief. If the kids want to learn more, they can.
  • Next, one of the kids will get to push a pin into the location the ancestor was from. (The maps not too highly detailed. We’ll look the location up on a more detailed map and give the best approximation as we can). We assigned different colored pins for my husband and my family lines.
  • As a Bonus: We, also, pin places we’ve lived and visited as a family.


Here are some similar maps to the one I use + the pins I use (I like the variety of colors):

Additionally, Mapping Family works well combined with a Family History Dinner. Combining both helps to create a special ancestor evening. To learn more about Family History Dinner’s and how to create your own CLICK HERE.

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