Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Family History for Children

My children are in 4-H and I am thinking about teaching a genealogy class for them next year.  I've put together an outline of my supposed class ('cause that's just how I roll):

  1. Introduction- Why, family group sheets, 5 generation chart, interviewing guidelines, sample interview questions
  2. Organization- Binders, computer programs
  3. Studying the Time and Place- county histories, etc.
  4. Libraries- using the library for research (field trip?)
  5. Immigration and Military Service- different records available, samples
  6. Cemeteries- Find-a-Grave, other resources, why (field trip?)
  7. Genealogy Societies- Online in county, writing to them, resources (field trip?)
  8. How to Share Findings- Reports, presentations, movies, etc.
I'm putting together notes and then an activity and homework for each class.  If you could share a lesson with kids age 5-15 who were interested in family history, what would you put in your syllabus?


  1. I think the kids' ages are a big factor in how you present the data. I did a presentation for my boys' Cub Scout dens. They are 7 and 8.

    I presented the topic as a giant mystery and told them they were the detectives. Recording the data was the equivalent of the detective files they needed to keep track of all the clues. They really got into that.

    For the group sheets, I had a presentation board that showed how multiple sheets were related to one another so they could see how you track lots of generations.

    I also had the parents involved to they could fill out group sheets then and there. Another activity was coloring maps of the North America, Europe, and Central/South America so they could see all the states and countries where their ancestors lived.

    When I was in 4H, we did do a field trip to a cemetery. The thing I remember most where the unmarked graves. One of the lady's husbands had made witching tools out of coat hangers for us to use so we ran around trying to find unmarked graves, find who was buried next to them and came up with theories about who those people might have been.

    I like your outline for older kids but I would probably leave off most of the more academic topics for the kids under 12.

  2. Thank you so much for the great ideas! I will have to see the ages of the kids I get and I love all your suggestions.