If you would like to give your kids something fun to do with their summer vacation, take some time to teach them to index. There are many benefits to teaching those of a younger generation indexing including filling idle hours of the summer that kids might waste watching television or playing video games.
The first benefit, and what may be the most important, is that you are teaching young people the value of service for others. Indexing is a great way to serve and do something that is very valuable for those who are trying to trace their family history.
You will also begin to lay a foundation of genealogy research and discovery from a young age. This will help them develop a love for finding their family history. It is a great starting point for introducing kids to genealogy as a whole. Once they get their foot in the door, it can spark interest in all areas of genealogy research.
When you start to show younger people indexing for the first time, you might be surprised to realize that many of them cannot read cursive. As computers have become a larger part of schools, penmanship and cursive writing have been taught for fewer hours and for less time. Learning to read and understand cursive writing is a major benefit and something that kids will see and deal with if they are indexing, and can come in handy in many real world areas.
Data entry skills acquired by doing indexing can also come in handy in the future for jobs and careers.
Sometimes it is easier said than done to motivate the younger generation to do anything that they do not think is “cool.” You could try to motivate them with small rewards or challenge them to contests with their family or other young people. This can be a great way to motivate kids, but it is important to let them know that they do need to make sure they are submitting quality batches and not just rushing through them to win a contest. It does not help anyone if batches are submitted that are not correct.
There is a chance that many will pass up on the chance to index now, but you may be laying seeds that will grow into interest down the road. Do not be discouraged if they don’t jump at the chance to index. There will be some that do and some that don’t, but it is important to establish the importance now. It may have a greater payoff in the future.