Kids and Genealogy

– or –

How to Plant a Love of Family History in Your Children’s Hearts.


And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children

and the heart of the children to their fathers…

Malachi 4:6


Abstract: In today’s media-driven society, children are bombarded with messages of dubious quality about who they are and what their expectations of life should be. It is more important than ever that families discover opportunities to share their own culture, history, and stories with their children. Participation together in a variety of family history activities provides abundant opportunities to transmit values and meaning across generations. A variety of genealogy activities are presented, organized into age-appropriate categories. Source citations are included.


Purpose: To encourage class members to involve their children in family history in appropriate ways by discovering and applying creative ideas.


A) “Who R U” – the caterpillar inquired of Alice

1)      We know ourselves by the stories we tell.

2)      Gerbner’s three types of stories:

a.       Stories of Relationships

b.      Stories of Fact

c.       Stories of Value and Choices

3)      Media fills our children’s minds with many stories – what stories are you telling your children?

B) Participating in family history activities provides opportunities at every age to share stories of meaning and value. Understanding children’s developmental needs helps us choose effective ways of sharing these stories.  (See Chart 1)

1)      Stories of Relationships

a.       Babies

b.      Young Children

2)      Stories of Facts

a.       7- to 10-year-olds

b.      11- to 13-year-olds

3)      Stories of Value and Choices

a.       14- to 17-year-olds

C) Activity Ideas (arranged as presented in Chart 1)

D) Resources

1)      Gerbner’s essay

2)      “Listening To the Past” Brownie Try-it

3)      “Heritages” Cub Scout Belt Loop

4)      “My Heritage” Junior & Cadette Interest Project

5)      “Women’s Stories” Junior & Cadette Interest Project

6)      “Genealogy” Merit Badge


Involving Children in Family History - A Developmental Perspective






Children 0-3


Children 4-6


Children 7-10


Children 11-13


Children 14-17


The 0-3 year old is mainly focused on self. Developing trusting relationships with family members. Gathers knowledge through sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

Active and exuberant, the 4 to 6 year old is inquisitive about his or her world and how it works. Interests still center around home and family. Pleased to be able to recognize numbers and letters. Enjoys hands-on activities.

Still active and sometimes restless, the 7 to 10 year old is also developing an increased attention span for subjects of interest. Wants to find out facts, and may enjoy keeping records and journals. Interested in heroes. May enjoy collecting, and learning to use 'grown-up' tools. Likes to show what he or she has learned.

Rapidly growing and sometimes silly, the 11-13 year old is capable of more abstract thinking, and is able develop his or her own conclusions. Likes to be challenged, and is beginning to set goals.  Values what others think, especially peers.

Independence, autonomy, and experimentation are key activities of the 14 to 17 year old. Able to collect, organize, and interpret information. Interested in moral concepts and value systems, and can fervently debate both sides of an issue. Able to set goals,  is also interested in giving useful service to others; at the same time, likes to have fun!.

Stories of Relationships


 Stories of Factual Explanation



 Stories of Value and Choice


The Story of Me

Visit the Cemetery

A Family Flag

Personal Timeline

Photograph Project

Picture Books




A Family Talk Show

Personal Biography





The Tigger Movie - Tigger's Family Tree

"Listening to the Past" Brownie Try-it

Video Biography

Source notes


A family Quilt


Vacations in sites from your Family History

"Heritages" Cub Scout Belt Loop

"My Heritage" Junior & Cadette Interest Project

Help plan a Family Reunion

Make a Movie


Family Treasures - Show and Tell

The Third Grader's 1850 Census"

"Women's Stories" Junior & Cadette Interest Project

I'm my own grandpa" party

Read a Book




Gravestone Rubbings

"Genealogy" Merit Badge

Write a song


Keep a Journal


Family Tree Mobiles

Transcribe the Stones

Rites of Passage

Genealogy Service Project



Family Tree Game

Draw a Map


Alternate Spellings?

Ancestors lesson plans



Map Hunting


Do a Little Cleanup

Map Timeline






Genealogical Ornaments

Do the Math


Using Microfilm & Microfiche

Dancing like They Used to Do



Storytelling night

Stories to Learn From

Database entry


Video History




A Calendar for Yesterdays"

Learn a craft


Memorial Day - Veterans Day remembrances

Skeletons in the Closet



Grandpa's Favorite Foods

Build a diorama

Spiritual Activities





Holiday Traditions

Life of Yesteryear







Family Traditions

Time Capsule








3-generation Picture Tree

Do Your Homework







Draw a Picture








Chart compiled by Elizabeth Hervey Osborn - 2001; Developmental attributes adapted from Teaching - No Greater Call, LDS 1999


Activity Ideas

Children 0-3

The Story of Me – Young children like to know they are an important part of the family. Assemble pictures of the family before the baby, while they were waiting for the baby, and when the baby joined the family. As you look at the pictures, tell your child stories of how excited you were to welcome him/her into your home.

Picture Books – The flip albums that come with processed photos are perfect for this. Make copies of photos of baby and family, and slip them in the sleeves. Let the child turn the pages as you talk about who is in the pictures.

Scrapbooks – Keep a record of baby’s milestones, activites. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; even a calendar with comments can be a precious keepsake.

A Family Quilt – Babies love special blankies. The quilt can be made of fabrics from family members’ clothing, or with meaningful appliqués or embroidery, or with specially printed scanned photographs. Share with baby that the blankie is special because he/she is wrapped in the family’s love.

Make a Movie – Record a day in the life of baby. Be sure to watch it again and again; don’t let it just sit and gather dust.

Read a Book – Among many books about families and babies, some are particularly appropriate here. You might want to check out Me & You: A Mother-Daughter Album, by Lisa Thiesing (Hyperion, 1998), and make your own Parent-Child album. For adopted children, try Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis (Harper-Collins, 1998).

Keep a Journal – Begin now to write down little things about your child on a regular basis. As he or she gets older, encourage your child to write in the journal.[1]

Children 4-6

Take Them With You to the Cemetery – Enjoy a picnic. Give your child a little card with a surname you are looking for in block letters, and allow him/her to look for a matching name on the headstones.[2]

Shutterbug – At a family reunion, visiting relatives, or on a family vacation, give your child an inexpensive disposable camera. Invite him/her to take pictures of whatever seems ‘important’. After the photos are developed, help your child make a simple book using the pictures.

The Tigger Movie Ò - In this movie, Tigger dreams of the folks in his family tree. After watching the movie with your child, you could talk about the people in your family tree, and plan a family tree party.

Family History Vacation  - Suitable for children of many ages, invite your child to help plan a visit to a ‘place’ in history: a farm, a beach, a historical site, a battle field. Look for opportunities to visit a Living History Museum for the area and time of your ancestors (some examples are Colonial Williamsburg, VA, 1600-1700’s; Historic Nauvoo, IL,1840’s; Conner Prairie Farms, IN, 1800-1850, Pioneer Village, Minden, NE, 1860-1900’s; etc.)  Don’t forget to make your own memories… be sure to schedule time just for fun, too.

Family Treasures Show and Tell – For family night, bring out one or two heirlooms… or ordinary objects… that belonged to an ancestor. Tell what it is and how it is used, and if possible let the children touch it and use it.

Dress –up – Young children learn by pretending. Provide period clothing, and let them pretend to be “Grandpa Ford, the cowboy”, etc.

Family Tree Mobiles  - Color copy some photographs of ancestors, and allow your child to cut out the pictures. Using a glue-stick, attach the pictures to cardboard shapes. Punch holes in the shapes, string them to drinking straws, and hang in a prominent place.

Family Tree Game –  Gather several photographs of family members and ancestors. Arrange them in a family tree. Prepare “Who-am-I” question cards for each individual. For example, the card for myself might read: “She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. She has light brown hair and blue eyes. She learned to play the piano. She graduated from BYU in 1987. She married Stephen Osborn.” Players guess which ancestor is described.

Map Hunting – On a large map, help your child find places where your ancestors lived. You might want to use stickers to mark the locations[3]. One family keeps a ‘Family History Globe’ in the living room, which they have decorated with information about their ancestors.[4]

Genealogical Christmas Ornaments – In the tradition of Croatia, ancestors are remembered in the Christmas celebration with special heart-shaped ornaments. Children can fashion small heart shapes out of red clay, on which the name of a deceased ancestor is written. Attach a little loop of ribbon for placing on the Christmas tree. A similar tradition is practiced in my sister-in-law’s family: each year small school photographs of each of the children are attached to milk-caps, and strung on yarn. These are kept from year to year as a memento of the children’s growth.

Storytelling Night – “When I was a child, I enjoyed spending the night at the home of my aunt and grandmother. We would convene after dinner in the living room, dim the lights, and I would say, "Tell me about when you were little girl." The stories I heard helped me get to know my aunt and grandmother as real people, and details helped bring history to life for me.

A great project for Family History Month is a family storytelling night. Declare a night each week throughout the month, and set aside an hour when no television, telephone or other interruptions are allowed. Gather in a comfortable area of your home, and encourage the sharing of stories about yourself, your parents, your grandparents, and other ancestors. Try to couple the stories with times, places, and historical events to help bring history alive[5].”

A Calendar for Yesterdays – Collect special days (birthdays, anniversaries) of ancestors, and log them on a calendar. On those special days, do something special to remember that person.[6]

Grandpa’s Favorite Foods – Find out what food your ancestors would have eaten. Try some with your family. Make a cookbook of family recipes, and illustrate it with photographs of your family eating the food, and pictures drawn by children. Make copies of the book and give them for gifts at holiday time.

Holiday Traditions – Choose to use holiday traditions to strengthen your family and sense of heritage. In my family, we make “Grandma Nellie’s Cinnamon Rolls” at Christmas, and take the finished products to friends as we go a’caroling. My father-in-law teaches his grandchildren how to bake “Popatiza”, a Croatian Strudel, for Christmas and Easter. Take a lesson from Kwanzaa, a holiday which developed specifically for the purpose of passing on family values and heritage. Be sure to photograph your family celebration, and compare the photos with pictures of family celebrating in the past.

Family Traditions – These are those things that don’t require any special holiday, but you do them anyway, like Family Service Projects, Pancakes for Sunday Supper, or using a special dinner plate to celebrate a family member’s important achievements. Again, take pictures, record and tell the stories of how the tradition came to be, and what it means.

3-Generation Picture Tree - Supplies: A box of Crayons, A pencil, Large sheet of paper Directions: Draw a large tree. Then on the tree itself add your name, then on two of the branches above your name write your parents names, then above them on two other branches add your grandparents names and keep going as far back as you can go. Then once you have all the names written on your tree take the crayons and color your tree.[7]

Draw a Picture - Draw pictures of ancestors. Prop up an old photograph where it can be seen, and get out the paper and the crayons.[8]

Children 7-10

A Family Flag – In a family meeting, design a family flag. You might want to look at other flags, and talk about what they symbolize. Children can suggest ideas for what should go on the family flag. Then using art or computer-assistance, put the ideas on fabric. Fly your flag wherever your family is.

A Family Talk Show – Get out the video camera for this one. Have your child pick a topic, such as birthday parties, holiday celebrations, favorite books or (ugh!) chores. Invite a panel of specialists (family members of all ages) to be interviewed on the show.

Brownie Projects – Brownie Girl Scouts do “Try-it” activities. One is called “Listening to the Past”. See the attached sheet.

Cub Scout Projects – Cub Scouts earn sports and academic “Belt Loops” and “Activity Pins”. One Academic area is “Heritages”. See the attached sheet.

The Third Grader’s 1850 Census – Children this age are just ready to help load and look at microdocuments under adult supervision.[9] They especially like looking for family names, and can even dictate some information for an adult to transcribe. Michael John Neill describes his daughter’s experience with the 1850 census in his December 12, 2000 article at[10]

More Fun at the Cemetery -  The next 5 ideas are also quoted from Michael John Neill’s essay Kids at the Cemetery.[11]


Transcribe the Stones – “Children who have just learned to write love to show their parents how well they can do it and frequently love to copy letters from books, magazines, etc. While at the cemetery, give them a pad and pencil and have them follow you, copying the stones as best they can. You’ll want to have your own notes as well, but nothing makes a child feel “big” like doing what Mom or Dad is doing.”

Gravestone Rubbings – “While you probably will want to do rubbings of your ancestral stones yourself, children can make rubbings of newer stones, perhaps ones that have engraved images. They can even spend time looking for an appropriate image to rub. Make certain the stone is steady and not in danger of toppling over. Younger children will have an easier time with newer stones. Crayons and heavy paper should be sufficient for this project, although children could experiment with crayons, charcoal, chalk, pencil, etc., Make it clear that they should not mark on the stone as part of this project or harm the stone while making their rubbing.”

Draw a Map – “Creating maps utilizes several of the children’s skills, and an extra map might come in handy later. Your child’s map probably won’t be the same quality as your own, but it’s a good time activity.”

Do a little Clean up -  “It might take a little convincing, but junior might be convinced to pull the weeds around great-great-grandpa’s tombstone. I’ve even been known to take a damp cloth and wipe off the bird droppings from my grandparents’ stone. Of course, this has a higher ‘gross-out’ factor,’ which may or may not serve to encourage your child.”

Do the Math – “Have your child determine the ages of various individuals buried in the cemetery. For children whose math skills are really good (perhaps better than their parents or grandparents), calculation of birth dates from death and ages may be possible, or at least a way to occupy time until Mom or Dad finishes looking for stones.”

Stories to Learn From – Tell stories of how your ancestors faced difficulties similar to ones your children faced. What did grandpa do when he had to move? How did great-grandma feel when her mother died? What did dad do when a bigger kid bullied him?

Learn a Craft – Find out how something was made or done ‘back when’, and help your child learn to do it, too. Weaving, whittling, soap-making, knitting, quilting, even toy-making are all hands-on activities children might enjoy. Local opportunities include the Longmont Museum’s Pioneers & Settlers summer day-camp classes about pioneer times, including crafts such as candlemaking, blacksmithing, and gold-panning, along with period refrigeration, schooling, and clothing.

Build a Diorama – Use toys (Legos or Lincoln Logs) or craft items to build a miniature of some aspect of an ancestor’s life, such as a model farm, a fort, a home, etc. Did your ancestors settle along a railroad? Build a model railroad with their farm alongside.

Life of Yesteryear – What games did your ancestors play? How did they get their food? How were things then different from now? Children this age will enjoy the If You Lived… series of books from Scholastic, available in paperback. Titles include If You Lived 100 Years Ago, If You Lived With the Sioux Indians, If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon, If You Lived in Colonial Times, etc. Also popular with children this age are Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, and the American Girl series.

Time Capsule In a family meeting, talk about what it might be like in the future. Have children think of some things that they think kids of the future might find interesting. Gather some of these items, and put them in a ‘time capsule’. Put the time capsule in a safe place (don’t forget where!) and set a date sometime in the future to open it again.

Do Your Homework – “Read about the times that your ancestors lived in and connect your ancestors with stories from history. A great time for this might be while you are helping them with their history homework. Tell them about your relatives that may have been involved in various wars, large migration movements, or other events in history. "This is your great-grandmother" may not get their attention, but, "This is your great-grandmother who crossed the United States in a covered wagon" just might.”[12]


Children 11-13
Personal Timeline – Using a large sheet of posterboard, draw a line across it long-ways. Beginning at the left and writing below the line, write down your birthdate, and continue to the right with significant dates in your life (broke leg, got a pet, went to school, learned to ride bike, got scout rank, moved to a new house, etc). Above the line, and using an almanac or other reference, write down major events in history (Presidential elections, weather disasters, wars, popular movies or music, etc.)

Personal Biography – Tell the story of your life. You can use the Timeline to help you organize it. Add pictures. Put it in a binder, and add to it as time passes. The Biography Maker, a useful tool for writing biographies, can be found at

Video Biography – With permission, video tape an interview with an older relative. Interview others who knew him/her. Video tape photographs of that person, and add music. Make a copy to share with family.

Girl Scout Activities – My Heritage
Girl Scout Activities – Women’s Stories

Boy Scout Activities – Genealogy Merit Badge

Rites of Passage – Many heritages have special rites of passage that help mark a young person’s transition from childhood to adult. Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceaneras, Priesthood Ordinations, etc., all provide opportunities to share stories of meaning and values and to participate in rich tradition. Take pictures, and record events. Compare them to how members of your family in the past marked growing up.

Alternate Spellings – Make a game of thinking of as many possibilities for how an ancestor’s name might be spelled. Teach how Soundex and Miracode indexes work, and keep a list of possible spellings.

Map Timeline – Mount a large US or World Map on cardboard. Using different color pins for each generation, map out where ancestors were born. Label the pins with dates, and connect them with yarn to show generations and relationships. Compare what you see with what you’ve learned in history classes… can you guess why these ancestors moved/didn’t move? Alternative… map out where your ancestors are by census years.

Using Microfilm and Microfiche – Children this age are ready to do some independent research. Visit a Family History Center or genealogy library, and take a tour. Learn to use the equipment, and how to order film.

Database Entry – Children this age are ready to begin using genealogy software. Start a file for your child, and encourage him/her to enter data as it is found.

Memorial Day/Veteran’s Day – Were any of your ancestors soldiers or sailors? Remember them on these special days. In our family, we make a point light a candle and fly the flag on Veterans day, in honor of Daddy (a submariner during the Cold War), Aunt Jeannie (who was an Army nurse in Vietnam, and died as a result of injuries she received there), Great-great-uncle Willie, who died in World War II, and Great-great-great-great-grandpa John Stoner, who died in the Civil War.

Spiritual Activities – In many religious traditions, children this age are allowed to participate in special rituals on behalf of ancestors. Lighting a candle, baptisms at the temple, and ancestor celebrations are only three such traditions from various religions. Encourage your child to participate in the tradition of your faith.

Children 14 – 17

Photograph Project – Piles of Photos sitting around your house? Enlist a child this age to help sort and label them.

Letter Writing – Often a part of high-school English assignments, encourage your child to write a letter to a relative asking about family history.

Source Notes – Another gem from English class, show your child how sources should properly be cited (and if he/she is interested, go through your own database and enlist your child’s help in bringing your citations up to speed!)

Help Plan a Family Reunion – Enlist the young folk, get their ideas, and put them in charge of an activity of their choice.

I’m My Own Grandpa Party – For a party or youth activity, invite guests to come as an ancestor from a certain time period. Have everyone bring a story or song to share. Play music from that time, and serve treats of the period.[13]

Write a Song – If a young person in your family is musically talented, invite him/her to write a family song. Tell the story of the family in rap, country, ballad, whatever![14]

Genealogy Service Project – There are many genealogy projects waiting to be done – census transcriptions, book indexes, photography and electronic scanning, cemetery transcriptions, preservation and clean-up. And many youth organizations require a ‘graduating’ projects (Eagle Project, Gold Project, Laurel Project, etc.). Encourage your son/daughter to consider a genealogy project to fulfill service requirements.

Ancestors Lesson Plans – The PBS series Ancestors offers as a companion to its television program a set of classroom lesson plans designed to help high-schoolers learn how to ‘do’ genealogy, and how history can come alive in the classroom through genealogy. These activities also teach basic research skills, a useful asset outside of Family History. Check out

Careers – Your young person might want to make a list of the careers his/her ancestors pursued. How were those careers useful? Which careers were highly valued? Perhaps there might be some talent passed on, that would make one of these careers (or its modern equivalent!) interesting to him/her.

Dancing Like they Used to – Research popular music and dance from an ancestor’s time period. Have a party and dance the way they did back then.

Skeletons in the Closet – Every family has them. At this age, it’s important to talk about decision-making, and learning from the experiences of our ancestors.

The Significance of Story

The following is an excerpt from Fred Rogers and the Significance of Story, by George Gerbner, a leading scholar of TV program content, written for the 40th anniversary of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. The article appeared in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Children, Television and Fred Rogers, a collection of diverse essays published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. For the full text of the article, please see


If I ask you what is the unique or the most distinctive aspect of human life or the human species, what would you say? There have been many answers to that question. Homo sapiens is the tool-making animal, the social animal, the language using, communicating animal. All are true, but I don't think any of those is the most distinctive characteristic of our species. Other creatures do some of each of those things. But there is one thing that no other species does: tell stories.

Our ability to tell stories is important not only because we live by storytelling, but also because we erect a world that is constructed from the stories we hear and tell. Most of our reactions are not in response to the immediate physical environment, which is what most species do most of the time. We are not on this planet just to look at our immediate environment or to experience reality. We are here in a very general but very real way to exchange stories. We are here to contribute to the reality (or should we say, that fantasy we call reality). Each of our stories contributes to a larger context, a larger environment, a larger world in which we live--most of which we have acquired not through direct experience but through stories we hear and through stories we tell. To each story we adjust our everyday experience and even ourselves.

So it is the stories that animate the human imagination--the stories about how things work, what they are, and what to do about them--that provide the most distinctive and characteristic aspect of human life. And as Fred Rogers wisely notes, each one of us is capable of contributing; each individual viewer creates his or her own exciting, vital story.

Three kinds of stories: what, why and which

In theory, there are three kinds of stories. In reality, they are all mixed up; there are few pure stories, but for the sake of analysis, the pure types can be reduced to three categories.

The first kind of story illuminates one of the most important aspects of human life: invisible relationships. It reveals how we relate to each other--the hidden dynamics of the network of relationships in which we live. By such revelations, these stories tell the truth about how things really work, because how things really work is not apparent, is not visible. It is something behind the scenes, and the only way to make it apparent is to make us see something that we otherwise cannot see. The way to do that is fiction and drama, or as Fred Rogers calls it, make-believe. "Make-believe" is the construction of a story that allows us to see what is usually covert. It depends on characters and actions that we invent in order to tell the truth about how things really work or might work or should work or should not work. (When Lady Elaine challenges a pronouncement of King Friday, it is really an inquisitive child insisting one more time, "But why, Mom?") These kinds of stories--what we usually call fiction, drama and fairy tales--are often dismissed as unreal or fantasy when they are in fact the unique and indispensable ways of illuminating not that which is but that which shows how things work, or what is behind the scenes.

The second kind of story is that of factual explanation and explication. Histories, documentaries, the news of today--these are all examples of the second brand of story. By themselves, these stories are meaningless. A news story--a story of fact--acquires significance only as it is fitted into a framework that is erected by the first kind of story of how life really works behind the scenes where we can't see. Once we understand that--and we all acquire some understanding of it as we grow up in a culture--then we can use the facts, then we can fit in the facts to confirm the fantasy we call reality and say, "Yes, that is real." If it doesn't fit, we discard it, or we say it is biased or false or invalid.

The third story is a story of value and choice. This type of story asks, "Well, if this is how things work and this is how things are, then what are we going to do about them?" These are the sermons, the instructions--today, most of them are commercials--that present a little vignette about a style of life that says, "This is how things work, this is how things are, and this is a desirable outcome for us to attain (or an undesirable thing that you want to avoid), and therefore you should choose this particular direction, product or service." It is an enormously important cultivation and reinforcement of a framework of life, of what is desirable, of what are the values and choices of what to select, and how to select from them. Mister Rogers' reiterative theme of recognizing the worth of the individual echoes and re-echoes in the lives of the children who watch.

These three kinds of stories have always been interwoven, and together they provide the fabric and context of that we call the culture. (I am defining "culture" here as a system of stories that regulates human relationships, into which we are born and which we absorb and acquire as we grow and become socialized into our place in a social structure.) They have been woven together in very different ways at different times in history.




Brownie Try-it

Listening to the Past

1)      Speaker: Invite a special guest to your meeting, to tell about her life when she was a girl.

2)      Explore your Neighborhood: look for things that are old, new, made by people, etc.

3)      Family History: Invite family members to share some family history stories.

4)      Games of Yesteryear: Play a game from the past.



Academics - Heritages

Cub Scout Academics



Complete these three requirements:

  1. Talk with members of your family about your family heritage: its history, traditions, and culture.
  2. Make a poster that shows the origins of your ancestors. Share it with your den or other group.
  3. Draw a family tree showing members of your family for three generations.


Earn the Heritages belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:

  1. Participate in a pack heritage celebration in which Cub Scouts give presentations about their family heritage.
  2. Attend a family reunion.
  3. Correspond with a pen pal from another country. Find out how his or her heritage is different from yours.
  4. Learn 20 words in a language other than your native language.
  5. Interview a grandparent or other family elder about what it was like when he or she was growing up.
  6. Work with a parent or adult partner to organize family photographs in a photo album.
  7. Visit a genealogy library and talk with the librarian about how to trace family records.
    Variation: Access a genealogy Web site and learn how to use it to find out information about ancestors.
  8. Make an article of clothing, a toy, or a tool that your ancestors used. Show it to your den.
  9. Help your parent or adult partner prepare one of your family's traditional food dishes.
  10. Learn about the origin of your first, middle, or last name.



MyHeritage.gif (18915 bytes)

Junior & Cadette Interest Project

My Heritage


1.         Find out more about your heritage.  Do you know your family history or the history of people who share your racial/cultural/ethnic heritage?   Make a family tree of the members of your family.


2.         Look around your room or your home and choose one object that you believe you would want to keep with you as you grow up. Why did you choose this object? And why is it important to you?Ask older friends or relatives to show you and tell you about an object that they have had for a long time. Why have they kept that object? Why is that object important to them?


3.      Find out the meaning of your first name, middle name, or your last name.  Baby name books are an easy place to find that meaning of first and middle names.  Did your parents use a baby name book to pick out your name?


4.      Find out what games, songs or dances your ancestors might have enjoyed and share them with our troop.  (Leader note: each of our scouts brought in a game, song, or dance and demonstrated it or had the scouts in her patrol play the game).


5.      Begin a “wisdom list” of quotations, sayings, and advice your parents, grandparents and other older people have shared with you and prepare a booklet that includes your favorite ones.  Make the journal with the supplies I put in your packet.  Put a favorite family photo in the frame on the cover of your journal.


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Junior & Cadette Interest Projects

Women’s Stories

Do ONE of the following (either a or b):

a)  Make a chart of all the women in your family as far back as you are able to discover.  Next to each name, record some information about each woman:  her job, accomplishments, talents or other information you can find out.  Attach the chart here.  Are you similar to any of these women? 


b)  Imagine a female ancestor.  What kind of person was she and what were her accomplishments and skills?  Draw a picture of her, or write a description, and attach it here.


Do the following:

Talk to an older female relative or friend and ask her about the changes in her life, the community and the world since she was your age.

a)  Who did you talk with?


b)  What was it like when she was your age?


c)  How does she think women’s lives have changed?




Boy Scout Merit Badge


  1. Explain the meaning of genealogy and genealogical resources.
  2. Begin a pedigree chart with yourself and fill it in as far as you can at the beginning of your project. Add any additional names, dates, or places that you find.
  3. Show yourself as a child on a family group record form, and show one of your parents as a child on another family group record form.
  4. Interview an older relative to obtain information about your family. This interview may be in person, by telephone, or by letter. Add any information obtained to your pedigree chart and family group records.
  5. Obtain at least one genealogical document showing proof of some information on your pedigree chart or family group records. This document may be located in your home, a courthouse, an archive or library, etc.
  6. Tell how you would evaluate genealogical information.
  7. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Do a time line for yourself or for a close relative.
    2. Keep a journal for six weeks, writing in at least once weekly.
    3. Write a short history of yourself or of a close relative.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    1. Tell how the development of computers is affecting the world of genealogy.
    2. Tell how the development of photography (including microfilming) has influenced genealogy.
    3. Tell how personal and family history have begun to influence the way society looks at local, national, and international history.
  9. Contact ONE of the following and ask a question relating to its genealogical services or activities; report the results:
    1. A lineage society
    2. A surname organization
    3. A professional genealogist
    4. A genealogical education facility or institution
    5. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state archives, state library, national archives, etc. )

Tell where you would find current information about genealogical records and research methods.



[1] Chuck Newhouse, “Family History You Can Do,” Ensign, Aug. 1995, 62

[2] Michael John Neill: “Kids in the Cemetery”, Ancestry Daily News Archive 5/23/2000;

[3] Lois G. Kullberg, “Fun with Family History,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 71

[4] Al Young, “Family History Within Reach”, Meridian Magazine, archive:

[5] George G. Morgan, “Five Projects for Family History Month,” article in Along Those Lines, 10/6/2000, in archive of

[6] Debbie Davidson, “Calendar for Yesterdays”, fiction, Friend, July 1990, 36.

[7] Jeffrey Johnson, “Projects for Kids”, online,

[8] Michael John Neill. “The Third Grader’s 1850 Census” 12/12/2000, archive

[9] Lois G. Kullberg, “Fun with Family History,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 71

[10] Michael John Neill. “The Third Grader’s 1850 Census”, 12/12/2000, archive

[11] Michael John Neill: “Kids in the Cemetery”, Ancestry Daily News Archive 5/23/2000;

[12] Juliana Smith, “Encouraging Future Family Historians”, 3/15/1999, online archive of

[13] George G. Morgan, “Five Projects for Family History Month,” article in Along Those Lines, 10/6/2000, archive

[14] Ginger Hamer, “Family Fun with Genealogy,” Ensign, Sept. 1984, 64