Genealogy – Everybody

As of today, I (Mr. K) am teaching all of Mr. Little’s classes. I am very excited about this! From here on out, everything I post on this blog will apply to everyone.

The first assignment that I have given to all six classes has been a basic genealogy assignment. Often history is a boring subject because the people we study lived hundreds of years ago and seem irrelevant to today. What is more personal than looking at your own family’s history? I want all of you to make a connection with the past by studying the history of your own family. I have given this worksheet to all of the students, asking them to fill out the back of it:

That worksheet has some basic instructions and then has a fan-style pedigree chart on the back where the student begins with him or herself and then works backwards in time. The first step of genealogy is to ask living relatives what they know about their ancestors. Websites like http://www.ancestry.com are the second step, so I can help you with that step once you come to it.

A couple of footnotes to this assignment – 1. If the student or his or her parents were adopted, then don’t worry about it. Tell me that you can’t research your family history, and you will still get credit for the assignment. Perhaps instead you could ask an older relative what life was like for them growing up? 2. Please do not cause any family fights with this assignment. Most families have relatives that they do not get along with. Please do not cause any problems. This is just a simple assignment for school, not a cause for any stress.

That being said, have fun with this! All of you have gotten used to your teacher standing up in front of the room, telling you what is important, and then asking you to repeat that information back on a test. That works for elementary school, but I want all of you to be life-long learners. A mark of a life-long learner is being curious and, by extension, asking questions.

I wrote a book about Polish-American genealogy, set to hit the shelves in less than a month. I would be more than happy to help you research your own genealogy (especially if you have any Polish ancestry!) if you tell me that you are seriously interested in it. Bring in what information you have, and I can show you the resources that the web has to offer for every ethnicity/nationality out there.

Please do not feel restricted to that single worksheet I gave you. You simply need to Google “blank pedigree chart” and can find dozens of good tools to use to chart out your family history as far back as you can go.

Have fun with this, and I can’t wait to hear the amazing stories that you all will find!

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