Teaching Genealogy in Schools

Ken looks right.jpg

I was once seduced into teaching a four session introduction to genealogy for a group of very bright 10 and 11 yearold children. What absolute chaos! One asignment was to ask each parent for the full names of each set of grandparents. One parent refused to let her child call or write her father. Another had to call a father in another country. One kid reported his mother would not tell him who his father was! Several reported 3 grandmothers and four grandfathers. When I was a boy, things were simpler. I was reminded about this when I stumbled on an old query by Jackson Stephens, a grad student in education at Brigham young University back in 2003 Jackson posed some interesting questions on an educators forum>

* What age groups are learning genealogy, if any at all? Is genealogy predominantly being taught in grade school, junior high, or high school?

* What are the students learning about genealogy? How detailed is the curriculum? Is the material covered by a single homework assignment, a multi-day project, or as an independent course? Do the teachers create the lessons themselves, or do they purchase materials?

* Who is supplying the materials for teaching genealogy? Is it a mainstream textbook publisher or someone else?

* Who makes the actual purchasing decision for any materials used? Is the decision made on the teacher level, the school level, or the district level?

No one on that forum publicly answered. But I am curious. Is anyone out there teaching children? How would you answer Jackson's questions?

And for a treat, check out this confession about teaching kids genealogy: http://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/kidzgen.txt


4 responses to “Teaching Genealogy in Schools

  1. Ken,

    The link didn’t work – this should work… http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/kidzgen.txt

    It looks the same as yours above, but your link was to …/infiles/kidzgen.txt for some reason.

    The article was interesting, and raised some issues that I had not considered.

    My local society is planning a family genealogy day at the library in October. We hope to draw 30 to 40 families interested in doing some genealogy work. We’ll ask them to fill out and bring a pedigree chart, provide some basic genealogy information, let them search the internet for awhile, and show them the genealogy collection – in a one hour time block. We hope that some of them join the society.

    Cheers — Randy

  2. Michael W Sullivan


    I ask you. where I can find Genealogy School or college. I want to learn that and get dregee of school or college. Please let me know about that.
    Thank you,
    Michael W Sullivan

  3. I will be teaching a six session rotation to middle schoolers beginning this fall. As a part of a culturally responsive curriculum, the lessons are aimed at answering the question “Who am I?” Our students will work to complete a family group record, a four generation pedigree chart, a time line and an oral history. I wonder how much of my own research I should show, and how to keep them well engaged during the classes.

  4. Where can I find a class in geneology near Atlanta,GA

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