Ancestors Tree


Students will:

Create a timeline of important events in their lives.

Gather information that proves who they are.

Begin to write known family information onto a family group record.

Gather information about their ancestors.



Ancestral: relating to, or inherited from an ancestor (e.g., an ancestral home or ancestral estate.)

Family Group Record: a form used to write information about parents and children of the same family.

Heritage: Something passed on by an ancestor to an heir (e.g., property that descends to an heir.)

Pioneer: one of the first to settle in a territory.

Repository: a place, room or container where something is stored.







Episode Overview

This episode explains the types of sources of information that you can look for in your home. Part one introduces Shannon Applegate. She was looking for missing pieces to her life. In an old ancestral home she found a pioneer heritage that gave her renewed strength and understanding about herself. In part two, expert Antonia Cottrell Martin explains what to look for at home and how to organize what you find.

Before Viewing the Episode

  • Duplicate the following:
  • -- the student handout on the next page
    -- the Timeline and Documented Proof
    -- the Family Group Record
    -- Family and Home Information Sources
  • Write the VOCABULARY words (at left) on the board, and discuss them with your students.

After Viewing the Episode

Activity 1
Create a timeline and gather information that can prove who you are

Explain to the students that:

  • One of the best ways to learn to find information about their ancestors, and prove it, is to gather information about themselves and prove it.
  • In this activity each student will create a timeline of important events in his or her life. Then they will gather documents from home to prove that three of those events occurred.

Distribute the student handout on the next page and the handout titled Timeline and Documented Proof.

Activity 2
Begin filling out a family group record

  • Distribute copies of the blank Family Group Record.
  • Have your students:
    -- Use a pencil.
    -- Write down as much information as they can remember.
    -- Follow the key points.

Activity 3
Gather information about your ancestors

Key ideas:

  • Explain to the students that:
    -- Their ancestors throughout the world experienced events in their life like--- being born, getting married, attending school, living in one place and then moving (migrating) to another place (sometimes sailing on ships across the ocean). They experienced events like paying taxes, registering to vote, joining or being drafted in their country’s armed forces, buying and selling land and/or personal property, joining and participating in the spiritual rites of various religions, and many other events.
    -- Remember this: A specific event had to have happened in a person’s life before a record would have been created about that event. In other words, events led to the creation of records.
  • Encourage the students to look for anything that shows family names, dates (birth, marriage, and death), places, or relationships.
  • Explain to the students that many items they discover may be old and in very fragile condition.
    -- Caution the students to handle the items carefully. Touch old photos on the edges only. Gently handle old books, certificates, newspaper clippings, and documents, etc.
    -- If the owners of the items are concerned about the students handling them, tell the students to suggest to the owner to turn the pages or handle the item while the student looks.

Distribute the student handout titled Family and Home Information Sources on page 28.

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