OK, so I admit it: thegenealogygirl’s habits are wearing off on me! One of my favorite things about reading her blog are the cool quotes she puts up. Not only are the quotes great, but she makes them beautiful.

I ran across the following quote in a FamilySearch blog about RootsTech:

Family history is about hearts, not charts
Allan F. Packer

That quote got me to thinking. As genealogists we spend an inordinate amount of time building our family tree, finding relatives, going back farther in our ancestry so we can extend our charts. And this is all as it should be. We wouldn’t have a very big family tree if we didn’t research this way.

But how many times do we work on the heart part? In the back of my mind, this has grazed my thinking area in the past. In one of Thomas MacEntee’s webinars he mentioned the way to get younger people interested in genealogy is to present it wrapped in something that grabs their interest.

You can’t show them an ancient photo of their Third Great-Grandpa Joe’s homestead. It’ll be boring. But if they’re interested in flying and you show them a photo of Second Great Uncle Clyde standing beside a bomber with his leather helmet, and those wonderful leather flying jackets, you’ve got his attention.

And that’s your chance to capture his heart. Get him to talking about the jacket. Ask why they needed to wear a leather flying jacket? If you have a story about Clyde, briefly tell it.

What are new mothers most interested in? Babies, of course! Put together a small scrapbook of your ancestors as babies with their mother. Grab one of those 5×7 plastic photo books from the dollar store and put a photo on one side and across the page include a few key timeline facts. If they lost a baby, perhaps display the tombstone, or a part of the death certificate.

They may not jump into genealogy right away, but you’ve planted a seed about their ancestors. And now you’re working on their hearts, not charts.

Allen F. Packer said to touch hearts with stories and pictures. Have you ever done this?

How have you spread your love of genealogy? By showing others your charts? Or have you tried to engage others’ hearts? Share what’s worked for you.