Making a Family Tree


Making a Family Tree

June 25, 2019

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Discovering one’s heritage is part of experiencing the ‘Our Place on the Prairie’ Gallery. As a child, drawing out a family tree is an opportunity to hear the family stories and to learn about the important people in your family who have come before you. As a parent, passing on your family stories is a memory-making event.

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen or Pencil
  • A tape or voice recorder to record your stories
  • Your memory

Set Up:
Clear a place on the table to draw and write. A place nearby for a tape recorder or digital voice recorder, if you plan to record your family stories.

What to Do:

  1. Talk with your child about your family and who makes up your family.
  2. Begin with the ‘trunk’ of your family tree by recording the names of your immediate family on the trunk.
  3. As you form the trunk, tell important family stories about how life was prior to your child’s birth.
  4. Tell the story of your child’s birth or adoption, and how he/she came to be part of your family.
  5. Then for each parent, create a branch and include the brothers and sisters of each parent on the branches with each grandparent’s name further out on the branch.
  6. As you and your child write down the names, tell stories that occur to you about the family members you are jotting down on the branches of your tree.
  7. Continue making ‘Y’ shaped branches at each union, including the names of the parents and all of the siblings with the family member who is part of your lineage.
  8. Continue to tell stories about important people as the family tree takes shape.

Ideas for More:

  • Consider the ‘holes’ that you have in your family tree, and brainstorm family members who might know more about family members further into your history. Make plans to contact them and ask questions about ‘missing’ family members.
  • Make plans to interview special people in your family. Ask them about their childhood memories, traditions their family did, their favorite childhood toy, and the important people in their lives when they were children.
  • Consider looking into the family tree websites and other resources to trace your family back further.

Length of Activity:
This may be an ongoing activity. The length of time that it takes is totally up to you and your child. An initial family tree with personal family stories may take about 30 minutes to an hour.


Consider the free family tree resources at Family Tree Resources, or Family Search,
The Kids’ Family Tree Book, by Caroline Leavitt & Ian Philips

Tell your own stories on our prairie!