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Technology & Genealogy<< Teacher's Guide<<

| Objectives | Teacher | Main Idea No.1 | Main Idea No.2 |
| Writing | Main Idea No.3 | Information | Vocabulary |
| Printable Version |

OBJECTIVES

IN THIS LESSON, YOU'LL

TEACHER

This lesson includes opportunities for class discussion, a video presentation and activities. Vocabulary words are included at the end of the lesson, though not specifically brought into the lesson in the form of an assignment. Resulting measurable assignments include a family group record and a summary paragraph. While the lesson's main ideas logically build on one another, the activities and assignments suggested can be adapted or omitted according to your needs.

The Technology and Genealogy television episode is designed for people who have never before used software programs or the Internet. While the first 10 to 15 minutes will be interesting to all students, most will probably have spent enough time with computers to understand an online environment. You are encouraged to show only what you think will be most helpful to the lesson.

MAIN IDEA NO.1

HOW THE INTERNET AFFECTED FAMILY HISTORY OR DID SOMEONE SAY BOOM?
You've heard of the big bang theory, but have you heard of the boom? While people have been keeping track of their ancestors for generations, it wasn't until the Internet that genealogy suddenly became one of the main hobbies for Americans. Almost overnight, people who had rarely thought about their ancestors became family history detectives.

New technology has affected the search for ancestors in three ways:

  1. The Internet allowed people to access the records housed in libraries, archives and other family history research centers.
  2. The Internet also allowed people to share what they'd found with relatives and friends. Often these relatives have new information that they share as well.
  3. Personal home computers have allowed people to organize information in personal databases. Information that used to take up hundreds of pages now can be stored on CD ROM or on a disk.

VIEW ANCESTORS EPISODE 204: "Technology & Genealogy"
EPISODE DESCRIPTION
Meet Megan Smolenyak. (How many "Smolenyaks" do you know?) See how computer resources help Megan find cousins she didn't know she had, both in the United States and in the Slovak village of Osturna. Experts elaborate on how to use computers and the Internet in seeking out family connections.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
What do you need to get started using a computer to find your family history? What is the Social Security Death Index? How do people conduct genealogy online? What changes has new technology made possible for family history detectives? What are some of the pitfalls of doing genealogy online?

MAIN IDEA NO.2

FAMILY GROUP RECORDS
Let's pretend that you posted a query in a genealogical chat room and your query went something like, "I'm looking for information on my great grandfather, John Lovell, who lived in Allen County, Indiana at about 1900." A couple of days later, you receive an e-mail from a kindly gentleman who says, "I'm a descendant of Sarah Lovell who lived in Allen County at about that time." How do you know you're related?

As you already know, a pedigree chart lists the ancestors from whom you are directly descended. But most of your ancestors had brothers and sisters who also grew up, married and had children. The person who answered your e-mail may be a descendant of one of these siblings and therefore a distant cousin. If this is the case, your new friend may have researched your family back for many generations. His chart will be helpful in extending your own pedigree. So, how do you prove he is a cousin?

There is a chart used in genealogy which keeps track of your ancestor's siblings. It's called a family group record.

WRITING

CREATE A FAMILY GROUP RECORD
chart 1 | chart 2
Using the family group record, fill out the information for your own immediate family first. You will then make a family group record for your father and/or your mother that will include their parents and siblings. Then you create one chart for each grandparent, and so on. Keep creating these charts until you run out of information or have created one for two of your four grandparents, whichever comes first.

Key points to follow:

  • Under HUSBAND, write your father's full name and requested information about him.
  • Under WIFE, write your mother's full name (using her maiden name) and information about her.
  • Write the full names and information about each child born to your parents under CHILDREN. List each child (living or dead) in the order of his or her birth.
  • Write dates using day, month, year (05 MAY 1946), just as you did on the pedigree. Calculate unknown dates if possible. For example, a person age 2 in 1926 was born in 1924, write: "1924" and then next to it, put, in parentheses, "age 2 in 1926."
  • Use the abbreviation for about (abt.) before the year to approximate the year if necessary (Write: "abt. 1955").
  • Write place names as completely as possible (city, county, state).
  • You'll find that your family group records will have some blank spaces on them, too. That's just fine. As you learn more about each ancestor, his or her family will come into focus.

    There are genealogical software programs that can help you keep track of all of your charts, as well as research notes and other information. But for now, a notebook and the charts you can download from this page should be enough to get you started.

    EXPLORE ONLINE RESOURCES

    Your pedigree chart and family group records are like the magnifying glass a detective carries with him. They will help you discover more clues to your family story. Armed with these tools, you're ready to further explore the world of records.

    Let's take a look at what might be available online to answer your family history questions.

    http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com/
    This is the online Social Security Death Index that Megan Smolenyak used in the television episode. Give it a try to see what kind of information you might find on one of your ancestors!

    http://familysearch.org
    This site is full of goodies - from databases to how-to information. Just take a look.

    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/3959/Generev.htm

    This site offers free genealogical software that you can download, if you think you're ready for the whole enchilada!

    http://www.familytreemaker.com/submit.html
    Submit your pedigree or see if someone else has already submitted a pedigree on your family at the world family tree site housed by Family Tree Maker.

    ACTIVITY
    Write a brief paragraph about the way computers and the Internet have affected family history hunting.

    INFORMATION

    WHAT HAVE I LEARNED AND . . .
    Technology has given family history detectives amazing tools to help their research progress; they can share, store, and obtain information faster than ever before.

    . . . WHAT'S NEXT?
    Alright, so online sources can help you know where to look for records, but do you know which record will best answer your research question? The following lessons will explore various types of records; why they were created and how they can help you in your search for the missing pieces of your family's history.

    VOCABULARY

    Query: To pose a question. In genealogical terms, this refers to online and print services that allow you to post questions such as "Looking for information on Ancestor X of (county, state) during (year). Can you help?"

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

    Social Security Death Index: An online database of more than sixty million people; including their birth and death dates, social security number and place of death.

     
     
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    -Teacher's Guide-

    Download PDF Version
    of the Teacher's Guide

    Episode Links

    Introduction
    Episode 201
    Episode 202
    Episode 203
    Episode 204
    Episode 205
    Episode 206
    Episode 207
    Episode 208
    Episode 209
    Episode 210
    Episode 211
    Episode 212
    Episode 213

     

         
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