Outside the Box Genealogy…Back to School with Genealogy!

As students around the area begin and prepare to embark on an exciting new academic year, it would be awesome if a growing number of them could understand their past from their families while still embracing their future in knowing their genealogy. Imagine if they learned how their parents and grandparents approached getting ready for a new school year when they too were young. Hearing the stories of how their parents, not only went to school, but also where and what obstacles they faced. We all have heard similar stories of how students, years ago, would help on the farms before and after school or the stories of long walks in the snow uphill both ways in the winter months to get to school.

My wife was telling me that she would go on genealogy adventures with her aunt as a young child. They would travel to small churches where relatives that her aunt was researching were buried. There was a contest to see who could find the grave the fastest, and then her aunt would talk about the importance of the person they were finding and how he/she was related to the family. The trips always included ice cream on the way home. It was a particular time to learn about family and be together.

The practice of tracing one’s roots has gained somewhat popularity in recent times with so many new television shows and ads about lineages. With an increasing desire for all people to understand their heritage, there is a need for self-discovery, and genealogy could and should be used to help significantly impact our student’s lives as they head back to school. As we progress through life, we all should have an inherent desire to know where we all come from, should it surface in conversations. It is proven that children who are more aware of their origins have more respect for others.

Genealogy in today’s world can provide a captivating avenue for students to embark on a journey for self-discovery by investigating their ancestral past. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together and navigate the readily available online tools, historical records, and local libraries, the younger generation can dive into history like never before. We all need to understand the past to help understand where we have come from as a community.

Teachers of history should also recognize the educational potential of genealogy. Trying to intergrade the exploration into the classroom enhances students’ historical awareness and encourages thinking on research projects. By exploring their family tree at home, the students are better prepared to learn about other subjects. Providing a social, cultural, and geographical context in which their ancestors lived gives them a better approach to forging a personal connection to history. There are special considerations that should be made in school for students that may not have the opportunity to research their family due to adoption, estrangement from family, or other separations that prohibit this research.

In an increasingly smaller world, younger students are becoming more conscious of their cultural identity. By delving into genealogy, they could gain a more significant appreciation for their heritage and the diversity that enriches their lives and learn about their ancestors’ traditions, customs, and struggles. This process can instill a sense of pride in one’s background and promote a deeper understanding and respect for other cultures celebrated throughout the school year.

On a personal note, it would be great to see schools incorporate a genealogy-related club activity into a workshop. Students could explore various cultures and celebrate with their classmates’ diversity by discussing their families’ ancestral backgrounds. This would create a more cultural appreciation and nurture an inclusive environment within educational institutions.

The study of genealogy is not just a personal journey but can also inspire career choices. As students uncover their family history, they may develop a passion for historical research and archiving or even become professional genealogists. These budding genealogists have a unique opportunity to transform their lives into rewarding career that helps others connect with their roots and preserve their legacies.

Please feel free to contact me about how this methodology all comes together. To learn how I can help as a Genealogist to help you with helping you to dig “outside the box” and find your story that can be shared for many generations to come. Feel free to contact me at SouthernShoresGenealogy.com (my website) or SouthernShoresGenealogy@gmail.com

“We are the Ancestors of tomorrow, so we must ensure we pass on our stories today. ” 

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