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Gen Z - Young people and genealogy

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  • Gen Z - Young people and genealogy

    Do you know any young people who might be interested in getting involved?

    Do you have any young friends who want to do their family history but have been put off by their perception that they are too young?

    Do we do enough on this site to encourage young members to join us, and more importantly, to stay and join in - what could we do??


    257390228_435091391331616_8965027995089674662_n.jpg
    Caroline
    Caroline's Family History Pages
    Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

  • #2
    Did anyone watch the free talk about this on Friday?

    Genealogy: the Next Generation

    If you were registered it is well worth listening to. It got me wondering about what we could do to help/improve the situation. It is still available.

    thedanielsgenealogy is one of the active young genealogists who are involved in this and is a member here. I know we have others who joined when in their teens n the past and are still active, but I think maybe we have all grown old together since September 2006!! I felt quite young then, and still do, but hit 70 this year.

    The Gen Z do have their own meeting places e.g. The Hidden Branch - but it seems sad that they feel the need to do this.
    Caroline
    Caroline's Family History Pages
    Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

    Comment


    • #3
      Do any of us belong to local societies - are they welcoming for youngsters or are they set in their ways?

      Are we going to go the way of the dinosaurs?

      (I am just throwing out questions here.)
      Caroline
      Caroline's Family History Pages
      Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

      Comment


      • #4
        Of course, it's not just agism. Twice I introduced myself to (different elderly males) people from the FHS which covers my area and both times they were distinctly sniffy about forums and I felt generally dismissive of me .... I still joined for access to their records, but still feel no interest in getting further personally involved.

        The first time was on their stall at their annual fair about 10 years ago, the second when one of them came as a speaker to the u3a - he was very patronising generally to his mainly female audience.
        Caroline
        Caroline's Family History Pages
        Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

        Comment


        • #5
          I’m a distant member of two English FHS so I have never attended meetings nor visited their centres so I can’t really comment on their attitude.
          I use the member’s section of their websites.
          One sends me a printed journal quarterly. The other used to do the same but somehow I seem to have been moved to an online one, probably because I didn’t click something on time. I find the website and process a bit awkward for getting into the journal from the email link so I’ve not bothered really. Come to think of it though, the printed quarterly journal usually has a short section of snippets of “a day in the life of a volunteer on the enquiry desk”. I am not struck on the tone of the person who contributes this section and if I ever did make it to their centre, I wouldn’t like to find that person on duty.
          I have visited the centre of my local FHS twice and to be honest, I found everybody rather patronising. The second time, I was given information about a document held by a local church. When I got there and asked the church visitor guides to see it if possible, it turns out they don’t have such a document.

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't know any young people who are remotely interested in family history, or anyone who I know in person of my own age for that matter. There are some younger people in my town's local history facebook group though who are interested in local history, and I try to point them in the right direction if they express an interest in their own family history and have suggested they join us here or suggest useful websites. I think the cost of proper research puts them off.

            While my granddaughter was off school with a broken leg I wrote to her every day and included a photo of an ancestor with their name and a "fun fact" about them, Horrible Histories style, so hope to have sparked an interest!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jill on the A272 View Post
              I don't know any young people who are remotely interested in family history, or anyone who I know in person of my own age for that matter. There are some younger people in my town's local history facebook group though who are interested in local history, and I try to point them in the right direction if they express an interest in their own family history and have suggested they join us here or suggest useful websites. I think the cost of proper research puts them off.

              While my granddaughter was off school with a broken leg I wrote to her every day and included a photo of an ancestor with their name and a "fun fact" about them, Horrible Histories style, so hope to have sparked an interest!
              I am sure your grandchildren will be interested! I know that you do a lot with the children where you work as well.

              With 85 views and few replies, I guess nobody is bothered about the future of our hobby or not sure what to say. I don't know any young people personally these days and it is shame that some of the active ones feel sidelined, although it has to be said that the world of genealogy can seem very exclusive and hard to break into - I feel sometimes that the genealogy world on Twitter can seem like that, a fast moving conversation between people who all know each other.

              I think forums such as us can offer a greater role but I wonder if we appear exclusive too?
              Caroline
              Caroline's Family History Pages
              Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

              Comment


              • #8
                That site you linked doesn't have much public interaction on the site, so perhaps more twitter or other forums are utilised.

                i think cost is a factor in genealogy full stop. And most people would be on the retiree end of the scale.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My take on this is possibly controversial. My mum, my aunt, a great aunt and myself all started our interest in family history at different times but in middle age. Why was this? Well I suggest more time and financial resources could be one reason. I see the future in a similar way, as people become older their interests change and some will take up family history as a new hobby, just as I did. I had more time as the children left home, then when I retired I could use even more time.

                  My younger family members are interested in that they listen when I tell them of their roots but they have no time at all to devote to what is (if you are doing it properly) a very, very time-consuming hobby.

                  I don't think FTF is exclusive at all. We all welcome and help new members and their age may only become apparent later in the conversations, if at all.

                  Anne

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Caroline View Post

                    I know that you do a lot with the children where you work as well.
                    In the past I've used my research skills to help Year 6 with their WW2 home front in the past though of course all the children are primary school age so too young for forums such as ours. I currently work in Year 3 where we are studying the stone age which is beyond the scope of family history!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kylejustin View Post
                      That site you linked doesn't have much public interaction on the site, so perhaps more twitter or other forums are utilised.

                      i think cost is a factor in genealogy full stop. And most people would be on the retiree end of the scale.
                      I started in my early 20s before online sites were the thing. Trips to Edinburgh necessary and they didn’t have pcs then either. Bound index volumes like at Catherine House in London. The old days of steam power and begging a bed in friends’ flats. Even a space on the lounge floor for my sleeping bag would do LOL
                      I’m glad I got the bulk of my certificate purchasing done in my 30s and 40s and I could also afford a sub to FMP by then. I didn’t sub to ancestry till much later. I knew next to nothing about Daddy’s family who were English so rather a lot of certs were bought in error. Expensive…
                      I have spent in the order of 3k and could never afford that now on a pension. That figure doesn’t include accommodation costs in Edinburgh in the last decade and a bit since OH moved down here. Previously I’d take a week’s leave and stay at his. A quick hop by CityLink bus along the motorway.
                      OH buys me one of my 2 subs as a present.
                      I’m really grateful to FTF for discounts etc. and for everybody’s expertise on here since day 1. You have all saved me quite a few more expensive errors over the years
                      I think somebody on the original WDYTYA forum pointed me in the direction of FTF. I joined up and can honestly say, I have never regretted it. This is one of the best forums out there.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I hope we aren't seen as exclusive and that we are welcoming to all of any age!

                        The talk expressed it reasonably clearly on their behalf but it isn't public unfortunately. It would be interesting to know what the GenZ themselves see as the issues for what they perceive as ageism and how they feel it could be better for them. There is a lot of talk generally about it in Twitter but without any suggestions really on how to improve it from their perspective.
                        Caroline
                        Caroline's Family History Pages
                        Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Anne in Carlisle View Post
                          My take on this is possibly controversial. My mum, my aunt, a great aunt and myself all started our interest in family history at different times but in middle age. Why was this? Well I suggest more time and financial resources could be one reason. I see the future in a similar way, as people become older their interests change and some will take up family history as a new hobby, just as I did. I had more time as the children left home, then when I retired I could use even more time.

                          My younger family members are interested in that they listen when I tell them of their roots but they have no time at all to devote to what is (if you are doing it properly) a very, very time-consuming hobby.

                          I don't think FTF is exclusive at all. We all welcome and help new members and their age may only become apparent later in the conversations, if at all.

                          Anne
                          I completely agree with all points in your first paragraph Elizabeth ie age, time and expense. Although my younger family members are interested in the stories of their grandparents etc they have no incentive to continue exploring and adding to the tree. Why? Because where would they start? - I have all the BMD of all my direct lines back to 1837 and baps and burials beyond and have written stories of their lives. No family tree is complete but the 'thrill of the chase' was the incentive back then.

                          Surely, the aim must be to capture the interest of those children/young adults who have had no previous access to their own family history.
                          All I can think of would be projects within youth groups - scouts, guides (badges) etc or even within school curriculums. By incorporating it into a history lesson for a term would maybe spark some interest but, depressingly, time involved and expense come into play.
                          Kat

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is certainly a very hot topic at the moment and I know that this is something that Janet Few, President of the FHS Federation is really passionate about. I think if there was a simple solution and answer to this then we would have solved the problem easily, but it is a multi layered problem that needs tackling from lots of different sides.

                            The one good thing to come out of Covid is the way that family history societies have quickly adapted to the situation and offered talks and meetings online. That way, people from all over the world can attend, regardless of age.

                            Some other barriers have been mentioned here, time and money being two, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Mentoring is one way to encourage young and old to work together and without being prejudice to anyone who falls into the “old” category, I include myself in that, but we can all learn something from young people as well.

                            There should never be any barriers to anyone wanting to join a forum, FHS, or online social media platform, but I do know that some people have experienced some forms of snobbery/prejudice, so it does exist.

                            I don’t know what the answer is apart from all of us being welcoming and encouraging, but it would be good to hear where the younger people see the barriers themselves?
                            My Family History Blog Site:

                            https://chiddicksfamilytree.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think that also the problem 'could' be down to social media.. younger people of today want the answers 'now' and not have to wait a few days for a will, or a cert or some service records.
                              someone said somewhere that Facebook is now a place for the older generation to be, most younger people now use Tiktok or snapchat/instagram their digital lives becoming more 'the norm' than actually 'being out there' in the real world.

                              Family History doesn't have to be expensive, there are plenty of ways to access records online. I would always welcome a younger person to our forum and help/guide them as much as I could. I suppose that because we have grown with the internet and genealogy sites 'out there' and more and more information being put 'out there' we might expect that others should be aware of it too? when that is not the case. I'm still learning as I go and I think that is what most do. Praps I'm rambling on.. I don't know many youngsters that are particularly interested IN family history. I follow quite a few on twitter that do have an interest and I have also helped them on twitter with problems or looking for something.
                              Maybe the younger folks are adverse to using forums as they see them as an older persons place?
                              Julie
                              They're coming to take me away haha hee hee..........

                              .......I find dead people

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Darksecretz View Post
                                I think that also the problem 'could' be down to social media.. younger people of today want the answers 'now' and not have to wait a few days for a will, or a cert or some service records.
                                someone said somewhere that Facebook is now a place for the older generation to be, most younger people now use Tiktok or snapchat/instagram their digital lives becoming more 'the norm' than actually 'being out there' in the real world.

                                Family History doesn't have to be expensive, there are plenty of ways to access records online. I would always welcome a younger person to our forum and help/guide them as much as I could. I suppose that because we have grown with the internet and genealogy sites 'out there' and more and more information being put 'out there' we might expect that others should be aware of it too? when that is not the case. I'm still learning as I go and I think that is what most do. Praps I'm rambling on.. I don't know many youngsters that are particularly interested IN family history. I follow quite a few on twitter that do have an interest and I have also helped them on twitter with problems or looking for something.
                                Maybe the younger folks are adverse to using forums as they see them as an older persons place?
                                Conversely, it is shame that they don't use the platforms that already exist and try to influence those rather than moaning on the sites they do use and avoiding the ones which are already there.

                                Rather than reinvent the wheel - try to change it from the inside!
                                Caroline
                                Caroline's Family History Pages
                                Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Darksecretz View Post
                                  I think that also the problem 'could' be down to social media.. younger people of today want the answers 'now' and not have to wait a few days for a will, or a cert or some service records.
                                  someone said somewhere that Facebook is now a place for the older generation to be, most younger people now use Tiktok or snapchat/instagram their digital lives becoming more 'the norm' than actually 'being out there' in the real world.

                                  Family History doesn't have to be expensive, there are plenty of ways to access records online. I would always welcome a younger person to our forum and help/guide them as much as I could. I suppose that because we have grown with the internet and genealogy sites 'out there' and more and more information being put 'out there' we might expect that others should be aware of it too? when that is not the case. I'm still learning as I go and I think that is what most do. Praps I'm rambling on.. I don't know many youngsters that are particularly interested IN family history. I follow quite a few on twitter that do have an interest and I have also helped them on twitter with problems or looking for something.
                                  Maybe the younger folks are adverse to using forums as they see them as an older persons place?
                                  I think their need for quick and exciting answers fed by social media is quite likely a reason why forums and “proper” research doesn’t appeal. The youngsters in my close family sphere in the early 90s were not interested in anything that was not electronic in some way and visits to museums, galleries or even the zoo were considered bo-ring if there were no buttons to press etc. Everything had to be presented as an “experience”.
                                  ancestry’s tv advert is another prime example of disingenuous advertising. Just type in your name and hey presto! you will know everything about your ancestors.
                                  As the family tree person in the family I was highly delighted to be asked by an eight year old for info about his ancestors back to gt. grandparents. It was for a school project on “my family tree”. Names, dates, places born, married, lived and died, job(s) and particularly what they had done in the two world wars so there was plenty there to spark the imagination. Sadly the lad handed in his tree to the teacher and that was subject closed.
                                  Neither of my two stepsons are in the slightest interested in their forebears and they are 33 and 34 now. I can only hope that one day the little one will get enthused. The only time no.2 asked me about his tree was when he wanted to know what forenames his grandfathers and further back had so they could decide on a middle name for the little one.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    The funeral I went to on Tuesday, I can say that

                                    My cousins (all similar ages to me) are generally not interested in FH, a few did comment on my findings and the photos etc, but no one was 'really interested'!

                                    The children of my cousins were generally not interested, apart from one, and she has started tracing her roots and her father was from the Caribbean - she was completely frightened and overwhelmed by their response of all of the 'cousins' some very distant she just switched off. she did say she would like to get to know about the family, so I have said she can have all the things I have here in 10 years time!

                                    Another thing that I would say, we were talking about crafts and a cousin child age 23 says she had deleted her FB account and wasn't on social media at all really, and actually my son is the same. So made me realise you can't assume all 'youngsters' are on social media, and also my son uses programming forums so there is a sector that still use forums.
                                    Carolyn
                                    Family Tree site

                                    Researching: Luggs, Freeman - Cornwall; Dayman, Hobbs, Heard - Devon; Wilson, Miles - Northants; Brett, Everett, Clark, Allum - Herts/Essex
                                    Also interested in Proctor, Woodruff

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      From my experience with older people and their interest in genealogy, quite a few got interested in middle age, after the kids left home. Or when the grandkids arrived. Usually it came down to having questions or being asked questions and their own parents usually were not around to answer them anymore.

                                      my own grandmother fostered historical interest in me, she loved it. When i was in school, we learned about the tudors. I asked my mother if we were related to any royals or anyone interesting, and she said to call grandma, as she'd done the tree. Se also said we were descended from george III. She had a huge cupboard in the conservatory, stacked full of papers, books and photos, and i was told to rifle through it till i found the "family book". Haven't seen half of the contents since, but found the book. Turns out was edward III (who isn't haha) but my interest was now a passion. It helped my background isn't just british/irish as well. The french and german are just as interesting and not much is online for them, so to a degree is more unattainable than the british, requiring hiring researchers to do the work i can't due to not being able to go to archives or be able to speak the languages.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by kylejustin View Post
                                        From my experience with older people and their interest in genealogy, quite a few got interested in middle age, after the kids left home. Or when the grandkids arrived. Usually it came down to having questions or being asked questions and their own parents usually were not around to answer them anymore.

                                        my own grandmother fostered historical interest in me, she loved it. When i was in school, we learned about the tudors. I asked my mother if we were related to any royals or anyone interesting, and she said to call grandma, as she'd done the tree. Se also said we were descended from george III. She had a huge cupboard in the conservatory, stacked full of papers, books and photos, and i was told to rifle through it till i found the "family book". Haven't seen half of the contents since, but found the book. Turns out was edward III (who isn't haha) but my interest was now a passion. It helped my background isn't just british/irish as well. The french and german are just as interesting and not much is online for them, so to a degree is more unattainable than the british, requiring hiring researchers to do the work i can't due to not being able to go to archives or be able to speak the languages.
                                        kylejustin - the issue for the Gen Z group is that they feel unwelcomed in family history societies, patronised by the older members and generally sidelined.

                                        Did you have this trouble or were made to feel this way just because of your age? I wonder if our other members who started recently when they were in their teens/early twenties came across this?
                                        Caroline
                                        Caroline's Family History Pages
                                        Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others. Socrates

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