Genealogy Merit Badge
Activity Guide for Patrol Leaders
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    Genealogy Merit Badge

    Aids for the Boy-Led Scout Troop

    Genealogy Merit Badge can be a fun family activity of mystery and discovery. Anyone wanting to play a research detective will have a blast on this one!

    Sample Activity Plan

    Opportunity for Great Family Fun and to Participate in an Extraordinary Service Project:

    When the Roadkill Patrol announced they were working on this it was awesome to see a large number of parents show up, curious to see what family gems we would uncover.

    A) Make Your Plan
    The Trail to Adventure Fun!

      1. Merit Badge Activity Preview

      2. Sample Plan Outline
      Note: This Plan is a Draft - Some dates, events and activities may change after reviewing it with your leaders.

      • Make draft of Event Flyer (See Example Here).
      • Each Participant to be notified that he needs:
      • Event Dates / Places / Dress Code / Supplies / Etc.
      • Pre-requisites (ie worksheet, blue card, research materials)
      • Homework Requirements
      • Service Project Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Outdoor & Camping Opportunities? (See Extra Credit)
      • Other Related Scouting Activities? (See Extra Credit)

      3. Meet the Merit Badge Counselor
      Review your plan with the merit badge counselor. Some activities require his advance approval. The Scoutmaster should be able to recommend a counselor to you.

      4. Patrol Leader Council
      Present Activity Proposal to your fellow patrol leaders and scoutmaster. Make assignments as needed.

      5. Field Trip Plan

      • Contact the destination venue. Confirm that they can assist with the Field Trip Requirements. Reserve your Event Dates.
      • Troop Historian should be ready to take pictures on this activity to report back on the next troop blog, newsletter or court of honor.

      6. Announce & Start Activity

      • Get final approval from your scoutmaster.
      • Update event flyer (#2) above.
      • Distribute event flyer / Begin Introduction

    Genealogy Merit Badge B) Introduction
    Present the plan to your patrol or troop (Either at your first activity meeting or sometime earlier.)

    Here are some ideas to show why this activity will be both fun and important.

    Are you ready to play detective? Genealogy Merit Badge is a fun activity for the whole family.

    • Where did your ancestors come from?
    • Discover fascinating facts about your ancestors.
    • Which famous people are you related to.
    • Take pride in your family heritage.

    The advent of the Internet Age in the last 20 years has wrought a big revolution in the world of Genealogy. Doing genealogy today is dramatically different than it was when I earned this merit badge as a young second class scout and had to fill out a giant worksheet by hand in pencil. Now there are many powerful software tools, websites, and online databases that can instantly create fancy presentations for you.

    Exploring your roots—where your family name came from, why your family lives where it does, what your parents and grandparents did for fun when they were your age—can be fascinating. Discovering your ancestors back through history is what genealogy is all about.

    Finding Your Roots - Genealogy. Virginia Beach Genealogist, Donald Moore has traced his family history back to the mid 1600's.

    Genealogy Merit Badge F) Scout Homework
    Activities to be completed at home by the scout with his family:

      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.

      Req #6: Your Family Tree

      See Page 6 of Merit Badge Workbook
      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

      Req #7: Two Family Groupsheets

      See Page 7 & 8 of Merit Badge Workbook
      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.
      Family Group Sheet Example

    Genealogy Merit Badge D) Study Hall

    Purpose: Help each Patrol Member learn key concepts on this subject. Include the following resources:

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

      Req #2a: Personal Timeline
      Do a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.

      Review Scout Homework (Req #3, 6, 7)

      Starting your Detective Homework
      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

      Field Trip Options:
      Most Genealogy Centers are free to the public and open evenings and weekends. They look forward to helping youth find their family history:

      Find Location Search Box: for LDS Family History Centers Worldwide: The LDS Church has a strong ties and interests in family history and operate genealogy centers in most major cities. 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.

      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:

        5a. A genealogical or lineage society
        5b. A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing genealogical research)
        5c. A surname organization, such as your family's organization
        5d. A genealogical education facility or institution.
        5e. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)

      Req #4: Genealogical Resources
      Do the following:

        4a. Name three types of genealogical resources and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
        4b. 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.
        4c. Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4b.

      Req #6: Expand Your Family Tree

      Bring your Family Tree chart, experienced genealogists can help you quickly expand on what you have recorded so far.

    Genealogy Merit Badge G) Final Meeting

    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 #8: Genealogy Technology

      8a. Explain the effect computers and the Internet are having on the world of genealogy.
      8b. Explain how photography (including microfilming) has influenced genealogy.

      Req #9: Family Research Results

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

    H) Extra Credit

    Never add to or take away from the stated merit badge requirements. The material presented below is intended only to add fun for the patrol by way of either activity or community service.

    Almost all communities have easy access to one or more genealogy centers filled with friendly volunteers who are eagerly waiting to help young people learn how modern technology has dramatically revolutionized this hobby.

      Genealogy Merit Badge Indexing Service Project

      Because of new technology, there is a massive worldwide effort underway to transfer all old handwritten records into computer searchable databases. Some of the biggest contributors to this effort are today's youth.

      Indexing is the process of reading old 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
      Family photographs are very important source for conveying family history.

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


      American Heritage Merit Badge - Shares requirements for research family history.

      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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