Part of what I wanted to accomplish during our Kohler family reunion was for my cousins, aunts and uncles to get to know our ancestors better. It can be overwhelming for most people to look at a family tree, and figure out how people are related.
I also wanted to have a quick , easy game for our family reunion to help my family members become more familiar with the names of our shared ancestors. I created Surname Scramble.
How to Play:
Pass out ancestor surnames (last names) to family members starting with the kids.
Read them the names aloud as you’re passing them out.
Sit the patriarch and matriarch of the family in chairs side by side. (Or You can have them represented by pictures instead.)
Have family members scramble from their current position to stand behind the correct family line their surname matches with.
(For us, it was Grandpa’s side of the family or Grandma’s side of the family. My grandparents sat in comfortable chairs while we lined up behind them. It made it easier for them since they don’t move as quickly as they used to at 88 and 85 years old. )
Talking and working together is okay and encouraged.
Once everyone is in position, read the surnames aloud for each group. Move people as necessary to the correct family line.
We played right after our family dinner. After the game, since everyone was standing, they were able to help move the chairs into a circle for our family talent show, and break down the tables.
Bonus Points – I asked each person to keep their surname card, and look it up on Family Search to find out more about them after the reunion.
When we speak the names of our ancestors, it connects us to them. It helps their legacy live on and strengthens our family bonds.
To make your own Surname Scramble game,
Here’s what you’ll need:
Family Tree to reference
Optional – Sticky labels or Hello my name is stickers
You can print or write as many generations as you want to based on the size of your group and tree.
You can get fancy and laminate the cards, print them from a computer, add pictures, information, clues or stories if you want to. I decided to just keep it simple.
Do you play games at your family reunions?