Ancestors Tree


Students will:

Identify and copy valuable information from records.

Use original and compiled records.



Record: 1. a tangible link to our ancestor; 2. a written account of a very important life event (e.g., birth, marriage and death records).

Compiled Record: a record (usually in book form) consisting of information that may come from original records, other compiled records and verbal testimony (e.g., a book titled "The Life of Thomas Walpole Tyrrell," or "The History of the Wright Family").

Original Record: a record created at or close to the time of an event by an eyewitness to the event. (e.g., a birth record by the doctor who delivered the baby).





Episode Overview

Episode Four will help you understand how the records you find about your ancestors are a witness to important events in their lives. Part one introduces Rafael Guber. He, like many Americans had ancestors who immigrated to the United States. Rafael, along with 100 descendants of immigrants, recreated the experience of first entering America through Ellis Island, near the Statue of Liberty, in New York Harbor. In part two, experts Sharon Carmack and John Colletta will introduce you to the major types of records you can find as you look for the written accounts of events in the lives of your ancestors.

Before Viewing the Episode

  • Duplicate the following:
    -- Student handout on the next page.
    -- Family Group Record

After Viewing the Episode

Activity 1
Identify and copy valuable information from records

  • Discuss the meaning of the terms "original records" and "compiled records" and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Have your students give examples of original and compiled records.
  • Distribute the student handout on the next page, and the Family Group Record.
  • Have each student complete a Family Group Record on the family of William Henry Whitaker and Mary Jane Wyatt, using the information taken from the FLORIDA PIONEERS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS.
  • Have the students document the source of the information on the back of the family group sheet.
  • The following information should be written on the family group record:

Husband: William Henry Whitaker
Born: 1 Aug 1821
Place: Savannah (Georgia)
Married: 10 June 1851
Place: Manatee County, FL
Father: Richard WHITAKER
Mother: Frances SNELL

Wife: Mary Jane WYATT
Born: 11 Apr 1831
Place: Leon County, FL
Father: William WYATT
Mother: Nancy Catherine STEWART

Children: 1. Nancy Catherine Stewart (b. abt. Jun 1852), married John HELVENSTON; 2. Louise Ansley, married Thomas G. EDMONSON; 3. Furman Chaires (b. 4 Mar 1856), married Nellie Louise ABBE; 4. Hamlin Valentine, married Ella DREW; 5. William Richard; 6. Charles Clarence, married Sue F. WHITCOMB; 7. Carrie; 8. Edward; 9. Emilie Victor; 10. Flora Winnefred; 11. Grace.

Source: FLORIDA PIONEERS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS, Volume One, compiled and edited by Anne Taylor Wood and published by the Florida State Genealogical Society in 1992.

Activity 2
Create a timeline of events

  • Encourage your students to create a timeline of the events (like they did for themselves in episode two) using all of the information about William Henry WHITAKER. The timeline should include the following:

1 Aug 1821 Born - Savannah (Georgia)
Abt 1835: Joined his half-brother Hamlin V. SNELL at St. Marks, Florida, and worked in fishing industry.
1837?: Went to school in Tallahassee.
1839: Served in the Indian War.
1842: Went to Sarasota Bay.
1844: Started a business selling dried fish with Joseph WOODRUFF.
26 May 1845: Voted (#6) in the first statewide election. Election Clerk at Precinct #5 (Sarasota, FL)
10 Jun 1851: Married Mary Jane WYATT
Sep 1851: Received deed for homestead.
Jun 1852: First child born: Nancy Catherine Stewart.
1852-55?: Served as a Captain of volunteers in the last Seminole Indian War.
9 Jan 1855: Owned 193 acres of the frontage on Sarasota Bay.
4 Mar 1856: Third child born: Furman Chaires

Other information not tied to a date:

--Served as sheriff of Manatee.
--Credited with planting the first orange grove in the Sarasota/Manatee.

  • Encourage your students to use any compiled or original records about one of their ancestors and create a timeline for him or her.

On to the Activity Page | Back to Activity Three