Genealogy for Teachers

Klaus Stopp. Printed birth and baptismal certificates of German Americans.
Klaus Stopp. Printed birth and baptismal certificates of German Americans. c.1880. Klaus Stopp Collection # 625.

Genealogy can be an exciting way of drawing children into the study of history by making personal connections to the past and encouraging intergenerational discussions. It is a tool that can cross many disciplines beyond history, such as writing, science (particularly genetics), and art.

The Newberry staff encourages teachers to make use of the Local and Family History collections in preparing course materials. The following resources can help to get you started. If you have questions, please contact a genealogy reference librarian.

Newberry Resources

Class Visits

Local and Family History – Publications about the Newberry Library Collections

Catalog Search Strategies for Genealogists

Photoduplication Services

Chicago Teachers as Scholars

Web Resources

The Ancestors PBS series offers teacher’s guides. The guides provides lessons tied to specific episodes with worksheets, projects, online exercises, vocabulary, writing assignments, and field trip suggestions. The guides can be used online by students or downloaded and distributed to a class by the teacher and can be used without the video series. Videos can be purchased from the website or borrowed from many public libraries. The Newberry has a set of the first series and the teacher’s guide that can be loaned to teachers in the Chicago area. Contact Matt Rutherford, Curator of Genealogy and Local History for more information.

The Oral History Association Education Committee has a wiki with information for educators and links to a variety of workshops and projects.

Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet, a popular directory of genealogy Web resources, has a section for kids and teens. This section includes pages designed for kids to use, pages for teachers, and print and audio resources.

The USGenWeb Kidz Project is another site with lots of “how-to” information and links to other sites.