Youth Involvement

LDS Ancestral Families Association (LDSAFA) identifies resources and examples of practices and activities that various LDS Ancestral Family Organizations (AFOs) who are Members of LDSAFA have found meaningful and successful for family members through the years. These resources and examples are listed below and linked to those organizations that specifically represent them.

Youth Involvement:

Involve Young People in Family History Work and Family Organizations

by R. Shane Brough, President, Brough Family Organization, 2017

Getting younger family members involved with genealogical and family history work will be key to the current and future success of any family organization. They still have energy and most of their lives still ahead of them. They understand technology and the Internet better than many of their parents and grandparents. Yet they still need to be trained, mentored, and prepared to step in and help with the work. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has recognized this need and has created a great website to help get youth interested, motivated, and energized in accomplishing this work:

Interestingly, on February 17, 2013, the Parade magazine (www.parade.com) that appeared as a supplement in the Deseret News newspaper of Salt Lake City, Utah, published an article entitled "One Big Happy Family" which stated the following: “When a team of psychologists measured children's resilience, they found that the kids who knew the most about their family's history were best able to handle stress [over those who played team sports or attended regular religious services]. The more children know about their family's history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives and the higher their self-esteem. The reason: These children have a strong sense of intergenerational self--they understand that they belong to something bigger than themselves, and that families naturally experience both highs and lows.”

At first, young people may not like working on "history" and may shy away from it. But they likely would like to sit with a grandparent or great-grandparent to hear and record their life story (that is so easy to do now with modern technology). They would probably enjoy collecting, scanning (digitizing), labeling, and organizing old family pictures. Indexing could be fun with the right project that aligns with their interests. Youth love stories! Take the time to share family stories with them. They might like to participate in utilizing existing (and future) technologies that enable real-time virtual reunions and other family meetings. They might even like to set up a social network dedicated to family members. Youth love to visit new places so taking a family history vacation and letting them help find locations (using GPS navigation apps on their smart phones) where ancestors lived would be appealing to them. They could even use their smart phones to take pictures and document those places and what they learned there.

Here are a few websites with ideas about getting youth involved in family history:

Family History Activities for Youth

How I Learned to Make Family History Fun for Our Youth

Engaging Youth and Teens in Family History

Involve Children and Youth in Family History

Blessings of Family History for the Living

Family History and Temple Work

Pulling young people away from their mobile devices to do family history work is certainly a challenge but finding ways to get them involved using their mobile devices will pay big dividends and keep this work moving forward around the world.

The Relationship Between Identity Development [of Late Adolescents] and Family History Knowledge by Clive Gordon Haydon, Thesis, Brigham Young University, 2010

Email inquiries about LDSAFA to:

officer.ldsafa@gmail.com