Playing games

Icon courtesy of the BYU Family History Technology Lab.

I had never been to New England before my summer internship; truth be told, I had barely touched foot in the eastern half of the country. So when I packed my bags and flew to Boston, I was ecstatic about the chance to live in a place with such rich history. As I walked the Freedom Trail, entered scores of museums, traveled to various cities on the East Coast, and got a feel for the history that is here, I felt at home.

When friends and family asked how I was doing, I told them how beautiful this place is and that I never wanted to leave. New England is the perfect place for a genealogist and historian to live. It has been beyond exciting to explore the personal and collective history that exists there. Unfortunately, despite the interesting discoveries I’ve made in my genealogy since being in Boston, I have had a hard time getting my family to share in my enthusiasm for history and genealogy.

This is not a new phenomenon. It’s a reality that I’ve struggled with since I decided to pursue genealogy as a career.

I would do anything to help my family get excited about my work. As I searched for ways to get my family involved in genealogy in a way that is fun and exciting for them, I came across several family games that make genealogy fun in a way that is not quite so intimidating.

My favorite of the games I found is Geneopardy.

Geneopardy is a family history game created by Brigham Young University’s Family History Technology lab. In a way similar to Jeopardy, this game scans through your family tree for questions that fit under the categories dates, places, people, facts, and other – you win points for successfully answering questions of varying levels of difficulty. If you’re looking for a simple game to play with the family, this game will simultaneously show your family how much they already know and teach them a few new things at the same time.

The game may seem trivial to you (it is a trivia game after all), but I guarantee that it’s worth your time. As genealogists, we work hard to discover our ancestry and keep records of our findings. But as individuals, we won’t be around forever. When we are gone, we can no longer share the stories we have found. We have to do that now, or they may be lost to time. Geneopardy is simple enough to get family of every age involved, and it’s a way to share stories and connections between generations. It ensures that your work will not be just yours but your family’s as well.

Who knows? It might even teach you a few things!

About Savannah Larson

Savannah Woolsey Larson, a student at Brigham Young University who works at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (with an emphasis in Nordic research), was an intern at NEHGS during the summer of 2018.

5 thoughts on “Playing games

  1. I felt exactly the same way when I moved to the Boston area 35 years ago. I was surrounded by so much colonial history, and then discovered through my genealogy research that much of it was my own family’s history! So glad you loved your time in this remarkable area.

  2. What a fun game! I’ll see if the family likes it – they won’t get many right, at least on first try.

  3. I was born in a then, small village west of Boston, Natick. I find that so many of my father’s mother’s side of the family started out there. I was too young when we moved to Florida to realize just what we were leaving behind. I long for the day that I can go back and truly dig into research there. Most of dad’s family is buried in the Natick and Framingham area. My mom’s are in Wellesley, Billerica and Lowell. I really miss it even though I have been in Florida for 60 years. I am happy to hear your enthusiasm about the area. It’s a really great place to grow up.

  4. I have played this game with my teenage grandchildren and we both learned things. I have played by myself and it helped me remember some of what I had learned.

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