Genealogy Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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Genealogy Merit Badge C) Prerequisites - Scouts
Work to be done prior to program start:

    Print Merit Badge Workbook
    One copy for each scout. And don't forget to have ready your Merit Badge Blue Card - (home printer version.)
    One copy for each scout.

    Req #5: Genealogy Institute Field Trip
    See Below. Great point to start researching your family tree.

    Req #2: Personal Timeline
    Do ONE of the following:

      a. Do a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.
      b. Keep a journal for 6 weeks. You must write in it at least once a week.

    Req #3: Interview Relative

    With your parent's help, choose a relative or a family acquaintance you can interview in person, by telephone, or by e-mail or letter. Record the information you collect so you do not forget it.

Genealogy Merit Badge D) Study Hall

The purpose of this section is to facilitate an opportunity for scouts to research and learn about key concepts relevant to this subject. They need to be prepared to explain these to the counselor.

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles intruduced here would be relevant.

    Req #1: Genealogical Terms
    Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.

    Req #4: Genealogical Resources
    Do the following:

      a. Name three types of genealogical resources and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
      b. Obtain at least one genealogical document that supports an event that is or can be recorded on your pedigree chart or family group record. The document could be found at home or at a government office, religious organization, archive, or library.
      c. Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4b.

    Genealogical Resources Today
    Today there are some fascinating online resources that makes genealogical research easy.

      Genealogy Merit Badge
      Family Search - Massive online database maintained by the LDS Church - over six billion names - also huge searchable data base of census records and more.
      Find A Grave - Giant data base of pictures of cemetery gravestones. A key tool in genealogical research. (See to the right for the gravestone of Sir Baden-Powell.)
      FamilyPedia - The wikipedia just for genealogy. See the family tree and biographies of many famous and not so famous people.
      BYU Relative Finder - Developed by the Family History Technology Lab at Brigham Young University - this online tool will instantly show the bloodline connection between you and many famous people. (Uses the LDS Church database in FamilySearch. [Relative Finder Training Video])
      Google Books - A huge contribution towards genealogy came from the folks at Google when they put online vast quantities of old rare books. Many of these are important family histories. Type in the name and hometown of one your distant ancestors and see what pops up on Google.


Genealogy Merit Badge F) Field Trip

Req #5: Tour Genealogy Center:
Contact ONE of the following individuals or institutions. Ask what genealogical services, records, or activities this individual or institution provides, and report the results:

    a. A genealogical or lineage society
    b. A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing genealogical research)
    c. A surname organization, such as your family's organization
    d. A genealogical education facility or institution.
    e. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)

    A. Local Genealogical Institute: As easy Google your town name and the word genealogical institute. Tell them you are scouts and ask for an appointment.

    B. LDS Family History Center: The LDS Church has a strong ties and interests in family history and operate genealogy centers in most major cities. Google your town name and LDS Family History Center to find one near you. They are open free to the public most evenings and weekends. They are also a very big supporter of the B.S.A. Let them know you are a Boy Scout and ask for an appointment.

    Note: The workers at the local family history center can easily help scouts get started on how to research their family history. Most will have highly qualified volunteer merit badge counselors on staff. And they can easily point you to your best match in all five categories asked for in Requirement #5.

    It is strongly recommended that you do the Study Hall portion of this merit badge on your field trip so that the genealogy volunteers can discuss with you the latest technological advances in this field.

    Meet with them first so that they can show the scouts all the modern internet research tools and how to get started. Then have the boys do research on their family trees and they can report back to their merit badge counselor their results.

    Req #6: Build Your Family Tree

    Begin your family tree by listing yourself and include at least two additional generations. You may complete this requirement by using the chart provided in the Genealogy merit badge pamphlet or the genealogy software program of your choice.
    Family Tree Example

    Field Trip Pre-requisite: Name of Relatives - When you visit the Genealogy Center, bring with you information about your grandparents (or great-grandparents) such as full name, birthdate, and birthplace. This is a critical starting point for your family history research adventure.

    Req #7: Build Your Family Group Sheet

    Complete a family group record form, listing yourself and your brothers and sisters as the children. On another family group record form, show one of your parents and his or her brothers and sisters as the children. This requirement may be completed using the chart provided or the genealogy software program of your choice. (Best done with the volunteer help at the genealogy center.)
    Family Group Sheet Example

Genealogy Merit Badge G) Program Debriefing

After completion of the above activities you may need a work session to finish completion of the merit badge worksheet to document the results of your visits, activities and the people you interviewed.

    Req #9: Family Research Results

    Discuss what you have learned about your family and your family members through your genealogical research.

Genealogy Merit Badge H) Extra Credit

New Hobby for Today's Youth

Many young people are taking up the fascinating and productive hobby of Indexing. That is the process of reading historical documents (such as old obituaries or census records) and typing key facts into a digital database. Your work here can create a breakthrough event for someone else researching their own family history. Any family history center genealogist can show you how it works and how to get started. (Pictured here is one handwritten page from the 1920 U.S. Census.)

Family Fan Chart
7 Generations of Your Ancestors

You can now print a full-color, 7-generation fan chart from within Family Tree.
How to print giant fan chart - FamilySearch Blog

Photography Merit Badge Guide
Family photographs are very important source for conveying family history.

Family Life Merit Badge Guide
Required for Eagle Rank - working on a genealogy project could help satisfy one or more of the requirements for this one.


One Great Family
The new Genealogy tool for finding famous cousins and ancestors. See how Donny Osmond added 38 generations to his family tree using OneGreatFamily!

J) Genealogy Famous Quotes:

    It is cool when you find your relationship to someone noteworthy or famous. But wait until you find your connection to someone Infamous (like I did). - Scoutmaster Hall.

    Genealogy: Collecting dead relatives and sometimes a live cousin!

    Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead and irritate the living.

    I think my family tree is a few branches short of full bloom.

    Take nothing but ancestors, leave nothing but records.

    Shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall!

    A family tree can wither if nobody tends it's roots

    Am I the only person up my tree... sure seems like it

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