The Ultimate Guide to Doing Family History as a Busy Parent

Ultimate Guide for finding time for family history

Is is possible to do family history when you're a young adult? When you have a 10-month old under foot? When you're driving around tweens and teens all over God's creation? Well, if you think it's not possible, you'd be wrong.

I'm not making a sudden announcement. I don't have a 10-month old but a friend does and her thoughts on this topic are listed below. No. I have have 5 superheroes that are home schooled. Meaning, not only do I harass them cleaning their rooms and doing their chores, I also have the joy of joyfully pestering them to do their school work throughout the day.  If we're not at a desk, where on the road going to the library, swim lessons, or co-op. At times I may grumble about the difficulty of the journey, but I wouldn't trade it for the world! And yet, their presence around the house all day means free time is taken when I can snag it.

That's why my blog's theme this year includes many posts written for busy parents. Yet, going to my genealogy society meetings and teaching at the local library, young parents are the only ones leading busy lives. However, today I wish to honor the busy parent from those with the youngest children to near adults and a near empty nest. So, I compiled this ultimate guide to making time for family history while your schedule is crazier than a toddler on too much sugar.

 But before we jump into that, I must emphasize that we must better understand what family history is. This five-minute video explains what family history means and gives you a five-minute task that you can work into your busy schedule!

Previously on the blog, I revealed my time finding secret weapons. Shh... don't tell anyone my secrets or we'll all be successfully researching and preserving our heritage and I'll have no more fun articles to write!

Finding Time for Genealogy
Time Finding Secret Weapons post click here.
Seriously, what should a busy parent, grandparent, professional, or caregiver do to capture and preserve family history? How about taking life a moment, or an event rather, at a time.

Memory Keeping Books for Busy Parents
Event Books are memory keeping time savers.

But, many people still feel guilty about their family history because they've forgotten that today's memories are tomorrow's family histories. And if you're a busy parent, take advantage of the Social Media 'time-drain' and turn your status updates and tweets into a genealogical record! (Don't you just love multi-tasking?)

Stop feeling guilty about your Facebook Obession
Stop feeling guilty about your Facebook Obsession! Use it to create a family history.

If journaling is not for you, try memory keeping using an on the go app. Turn your trigger happy smartphone photography passion (or addiction) into a keepsake to flip through on rainy days. You can even use those end result (printed books) as distractions when your little ones (or big ones) are bored. Whip out a Chat Book or Mosiac book and let them feast upon recent memories!

Turn your photo taking addiction into a printed book while you're at a doctor's visit
or soccer practice. The end result can be a weapon against children's boredom!

But, if these tips don't appeal to you, I have some Family History for Children buddies sharing some of their favorite tips for finding time for family history.

  • Karen Duval says she creates a "Good, Better, Best" task list to tackle items to do when her 10-month old naps. Genealogy tasks fall into the better and best lists. By the way, her daughter is so cute, you have to click to her post "Busy Parents + Family History"  just to see her toothless grin.
  • Jana Greenhalgh had six children to wrangle but she had an epiphany about family history and her busy life. She says, ""Family and Family History don't have to compete!" Check out her post "Family history tip for BUSY parents" for her continued explanation of this truism. 
  • Genealogy Jen, a superwoman with a 1st grader and 3 4th-grade triplets (yeah, triplets and a younger one. All Boys!) has a crew that likes to put underwear on their heads. And yet, she doesn't cave into the excuse that genealogy doesn't fit into her life right now. To see her children's unmentionable headwear and read her time finding tips, read "How can I do family history as a busy parent?"
  • My homeschooling/genealogy buddy Melissa Finlay wrote a practical article "Ipad vs Laptop vs Desktop for Genealogy and Family History Work." I'd focused so much on time finding that I hadn't thought about the tools of the trade. Melissa has us covered. Go read her post!!!
  • Katie Potter has three tips for incorporating family history into her children's lives. The one I hadn't thought about was sharing a brick wall ancestor with older and having them try on the sleuth's hat. To read this tip and more, visit "How We Incorporate Family History into our Kids' Busy Schedules"
  • Amy Archibald says that family history is just a regular part of her life like brushing her teeth. Ha, ha! When I went to China without my computer, I felt the loss because I couldn't do genealogy on the plane or trains. If felt like I wasn't brushing my teeth. Amy's advice is, "You get what you focus on." She also shares tips from two of her genealogy loving relatives. A must read!!!
  • When you visit the pirate themed by Melia Rios-Lazo, you'll learn the miracles and blessings brought into our lives as busy parents engage in family history. Do a healthy business and more peace sound good? Yeah, it does. Go read "Family History for Busy Parents."
  • Olivia Jewell, the Mom O'3 Genealogy blogger shares a fantastic checklist of activities you can use to decide what to do when you snag 10 minutes of time for genealogy. To view the list visit "Family History for Busy Parents - 4 Easy Steps"
  • Nicole Dyer wrote "10 Ways Busy Parents Can Make Time for Family History" and I personally love Tip #8: Don't get bogged down in feeling unproductive. This tip stood out because sometimes I walk away from genealogy and I haven't discovered anything new. Nicole has some reassuring advice you'll want to read. 
  • Diana Elder says that making time for family history has more to do with evaluating how you spend your time over all. Her sage advice is so true but who wants to admit they have a thief in their midst? Read "Eliminate Your Time Thieves and Free Up Family History Time"

Do you have more tips to share about finding time to do family history and genealogy? Are you retired and have sage advice for the busy parents in the readership? Share your comments below!

***This post is part of an awesome blog link up hosted by our friends at Family Locket.  To add to the conversation, please visit Family History Locket's April Link Up page. In May, we should be sharing our best advice from mothers in honor of Mother's Day. Deadline is May 11th.


  1. Excellent thoughts. Thanks for the great summary of today's blog link up, Devon.

  2. I love how you whittled down each post to the nitty gritty! Perfect! Your articles are so helpful. Love this ultimate guide.

    1. Nicole... nitty gritty? I was just picking out the things that inspired me. Glad I could be helpful.

  3. I also love how you shared a little bit from everyone in the link up. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Thanks for the links back to your other articles and videos that tie in to this topic. It was a good review. I forgot to do that on my article this time!

    1. Melissa... it's tough to remember everything. And you're welcome for the link backs. I thought everyone has so much value to offer in the discussion.


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