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Just for Teachers

In the public school system today, family history is often become part of the curriculum. Teachers are seeking help in preparing lesson plans for their teenage and elementary school students to fulfill history and research requirements.

Ideas for Teachers

Many people these days are part of or come from non-linear families. We suggest you allow your students to draw a free-form family tree that has extra branches for step-relations. Our thanks to Suzanne Brayer, Laverne Aitchison and DeAnne Shelley for these ideas.

  • For Elementary Students
  • For High School Students
  • For Adults

For Elementary Students

Draw a three-generation family tree. Include just the names of the student, his parents, and grandparents. Ask the student to write a short paragraph about each person. For example,

My grandmother, Josephine Sampson, is 65 years old. She is tall and thin. She has blue eyes and has white hair that used to be red. She is a beautician. Her ancestors came from Holland. She likes to play cards and belongs to a bowling league. She married Benjamin Harrison and they had five children.

Bring an item to class for show-and-tell. Perhaps a tool an ancestor would use in his trade, an old kitchen gadget.

For High School Students

Draw a four-generation family tree, or as many generations as they can gather.

Interview parents, grandparents, etc.

Write a report on one or more ancestors. Include:

Biographical information

Ethnic background

A paragraph describing a family tradition

A favorite family recipe

Photographs or copies of photographs, identified as to name, date and location

Do some research on one aspect of their history, and write a report, for example:

An ethnic group

An ancestor's occupation

Make a hand-drawn map of an ancestor's homeland (town, village and country)

Make the favorite recipe and bring it to the class to share.

Bring an heirloom to class for show-and-tell.

For Adults

Janna's ten-hour class includes:

Basics of Genealogical Research

Terms used in genealogy

Filling out Forms


Organization and Note-Taking


Evaluation of Evidence


Research Technique

Doing a Preliminary Search

Sources That Help You Find Original Sources


Original Sources

Suggested Books and Periodicals

Census Records

Vital Records

Land and Tax Records

Probate Records

Church Records

Cemetery Records

Military Records

Immigration Records

Help Me!   Contact Janna to set up a class for your students.