Pedigree Problems: learning activities

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Hey, don’t we all have “pedigree problems”? Mine stem from the fact that every single ancestor has two parents. Karen Clifford  used the phrase in her book Becoming an Accredited Genealogist (Orem, UT: Ancestry, 1998) to refer to simple case problems for students of genealogy.

Karen is a clever and talented teacher. I recall her giving a lecture back in 1997 on new CD-ROM databases for genealogists. The connection from her laptop to the projector was non-functional, and while the resident techies at the conference tried to sort out the problem she bravely carried on, joking as she did so. A class act indeed. But lets return to her pedigree problems.

The assignment was to use a critical analysis form, the student was to determine any discrepencies, errors, or omissions in the case study. Here is one of them:

I am trying to find the father of Wait Smith, who died in 1753 in goshen, Orange County, New York. His wife was named Charity, and he had as children Wait, Samuel, Oliver, James, William, Joshua, Solomon, a daughter named Elizabeth and one named Charity Thomson” (page 106)
Students are assigned two such problems, and then asked to do a third analysis from their own pedigree chart.

Some of the cases were short and sweet like this one, others contain much more detail. The challeng is, could you write a three or four these cases, and use them to have students take the information and do something with it.

They could record the information on a pedigree chart/ family group record, or into the approved genealogy software for the class– then compare the answer with a standard

OR they could do an analysis of the information on some sort of critical analysis worksheet ( Karen’s is found on page 108) and then in class to a discussion of their analysis.

OR they can hand in the analysis for a graded response from the instructor.

OR They could build on the analysis by writing a letter to the client asking any clarification questions ( such as sources or to check dates were corrected shared)

OR building on the analysis, the student could prepare a research plan
OR– how else could you use the “pedigree problem” as stimulus for learning and assessment? you tell me.

What do you think?
Karen’s book is discounted about 30% on Amazon.com right now! Check it out.

Thank you Karen.

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One response to “Pedigree Problems: learning activities

  1. Actual hands-on activities is what makes Karen Clifford stand out in the sea of genealogy how-to books. How lucky you are to have taken a class from her.

    I think your idea of having students critically examine information is spot on.

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