Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Genealogy Club Possibility

 A couple of years ago, I had a Genealogy Club at the Intermediate Center (gr. 5-8)  where I teach.  At first there were lots of students getting information, but when we actually started meeting, there were only about 5 that attended.  We met in the computer lab and I would log into my account so that they could use it during this time.  We could not get onto Family Search due to the firewall in place.  I don't know if that has changed.  We met every two weeks, but all of the children involved came with lots of family history information usually all organized.  They obviously had a family genealogist in their family.  Last year, I let it drop when two of the five left our school.  Then last week one of our new students stopped while I was at my door on hall duty and asked if I was the teacher who did the Genealogy Club.  I was surprised and asked if he liked genealogy.  "Yes, very much. Are you having the club this year?"  I am a sucker for anyone who likes family history so I told him that I would try to get it organized in the next few weeks.  Now I need your help.

Do you have any suggestions for structure or order?  I really don't want to spend hours getting ready for this club.  What would be some good topics?  How can I handle the students who just want to impress me with all of the information they already have?  I would love to take them to the local library and show they the local resources, but a field trip will not be allowed.  I know there have been several podcasts on getting children interested in genealogy, but they seem to be more on a family level rather than organized at school. 

Free is the perfect price for a public school.

I am waiting for you to point me in the right direction . . .


  1. How about finding some software that will allow them to create a visual family tree to print out(however many generations back you think would not be unwieldy), and the deadline is Christmas vacation?

    I'm thinking something they could put on their bedroom wall...

  2. Wow! How fun for you! I'm sorry I don't have any advice but I know you are a wonderful teacher and these kids will learn so much from you! Genealogists in the making! Yeah!

  3. Margel, bless your pea-pickin' heart for thinking of this! I love the idea!

    How about YouTube videos about genealogy for ideas - maybe watching them as a group. Maybe a project related to an ancestor's history or geography for the "lots of names" kids.

    Grown up genealogists do best when we focus on one question at a time. Maybe you can ask the kids the one thing they wish they could ask an ancestor and then explore possible answers.

  4. What about making a timeline of their life or one for one of their ancestors. Or create a time capsule either individually or together as a group. Invite a veteran to talk to the group, before this visit could do a lesson on oral history interviews. Maybe something with family recipes or something. Or an online genealogy related scavenger hunt.

  5. Keep those ideas comin'. . .

    Dee - I can't put software on the school computers but I love the idea.
    Lisa - Thanks for the vote of confidence.
    Laura - Can't access YouTube at school but I could download it at home and put it in a powerpoint to show.
    Brenda - A timeline is a great idea, and we already have software for that on the school computer.

  6. Why no field trip, maybe there could be an optional agreement to meet up if they wish on a saturday or sunday or what ever day, the place is open.
    Also google has websites that allow joining in and sharing. My mind is blank at the moment as to exact name other than the google document. And face book group pages also offer opportunities. However I am not sure how the privacy would affect families on that.

  7. another of the google document for sharing- excuse the direct link, can't live without them.

    You could maybe use google pics or the old picasa. at least you can add pics to this doc sharing. And you could do a closed blog. with author sharing too. Or pick the editors to do the final posting.
    I like th 'doc' cause I think it might help with pic files changing.
    I thought I saw something else of this type with google with a simple name.