Children as family history detectives

We've recently purchased a series of educational resources for children, called Branching Out.

They are US produced lessons plans by Jennifer Holik, broken into books with ages groups:
Branching out : genealogy for 1st-3rd grade studentsBranching out : genealogy for 4th-8th grade students ; and Branching out : genealogy for high school students.

Each age group contains 30 lesson plans; and works through the mechanics of step-by-step how to research your family history in an age appropriate way.

This is an exciting new addition to the Central Auckland Research Centre.

We often get children and teens on school visits come into the Research Centre. Family history is often introduced to children via the school curriculum in Year 4 and then later around Year 10; although some schools also do it in other years.

 Getting children interested in family history has fantastic results in terms of teaching them the concept of "history" and also teaching them how to research. It allows them to identify with history in a highly personal way, through their own families.

They learn valuable information seeking skills, how to use different resources, and how to cite their sources.

When they come into our Research Centre, they don't just learn to use our online databases and subscription websites. They learn about microfiche and microfilm; heritage newspapers; and using books and CD-Roms.

We have many other resources to help as well.

We try to teach them to think laterally.

Some of these schools treat family history as a year long project, with a fantastic scrapbook at the end of it.

My plan is to take these resources and adapt them for New Zealand.

I'd love to work more collaboratively with schools, raising awareness of how much we can help them.

And I am also considering developing a school holiday programme.

I think using Family History is a great way to teaching kids how to research and how to use their Library.

If you think your school would be interested, let them know and tell them to give me a call! The best way for us to help classes, if they ring and arrange a suitable time to come in.

Meanwhile, have a look at the photos on our Facebook page. Our wonderful displays team has created a display for Family History Month (August) called Family History for Teens and Children.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

One Response to “Children as family history detectives”

  1. Hi! Thanks for purchasing my books. Let me know if you have any questions. I am at jenniferholik at


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