For those of you who have never played Pictionary, it is a very simple, easy-to-play game in which a person attempts to get their teammate(s) to guess a something based on the pictures he/she draws. The team only has a limited amount of time in which to guess what the illustrator is drawing, and no numbers or letters are allowed in drawings.
The commercial version of Pictionary comes with a board on which each team moves game pieces around, but that's really not necessary in the simplest form of the game. All you need is at least two teams, a pencil and pad of paper, a way to keep time, and cards each illustrator must blindly choose from to know what to draw. Before you begin, decide on how many rounds you will play, and the team with the most correct guesses wins!
What goes on the cards? This is where we can tailor the game to fit our own family history. Below, I will list some ideas for different categories and different things that you can put on the cards for people to draw. Just like in real Pictionary, you will find that some words turn out to be more difficult to draw and guess than others. When playing with kids, I recommend making sure they are on teams with other adults, and allowing those adults to "coach" them if they have questions about how to draw a particular clue.
-Occupations and occupational tools
-Places: cities, towns, states, countries, ports of departure and entry
-Historical events and institutions: wars, migrations, or specific events your ancestors may have participated in (Examples: Boston Tea Party, Underground Railroad)
-Modes of travel and migration routes your ancestors used: Horse, wagon, steamship, sailing ship, train, canal boat, walking, streetcar, Oregon Trail, Erie Canal
-General genealogical records and words: birth, marriage, death, baptism, cemetery headstone, journal, photos, newspaper, yearbook, citizenship, city/town directory, passport
Using Microsoft Publisher, I've created some basic, customizable, cards that you can fill in to create your own family history Pictionary game. I've done a few sample ones based on my own family history to give you an idea of how they work. On the top of the card is the word or phrase that must be drawn and guessed. On the bottom of the card is a small space where you can write HOW that relates to your family history. So, after time has expired, and whether or not the team has properly guessed the word/phrase, you can read that short sentence to the entire group and learn some facts about your family history and ancestors. These facts could pertain to life-changing events in your ancestors' lives, or more simple things like hobbies, games, or foods they enjoyed.