The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

22 February 2006

History Teachers: Teach Genealogy!

Presently, I am studying to become a high school history teacher. In one of my classes, we are working on lesson plans. One of the lesson plans that I created used genealogy. I believe that introducing a genealogy lesson in the classroom will help students to understand that history is not something that is distant. It shows them that their lives connects with history.

I found a great quote in a book that I'm reading called History Comes Home: Family Stories Across the Curriculum that brings this idea home:

"Family history offers a way out of the divisive trap of racializing our identities. The ominous divides of race are bridged by the actual complexity of our collective past, and the great lesson of our histories deliver: in many ways we are similiar [author's emphasis.] Our families and peoples of the world over have worked, struggled, fought through wars and hard times, adjusted to technology, and made it to this place and day. Further, by focusing on ethnic origins, migrations, and pathways, identity is constantly enriched and expanded. All of us come from somewhere. Family tree branch into glorious, bushy complexity, rich with a million stories. And our stories are linked."

Zemelman, Steven, et. al., History Comes Home: Family Stories Across the Curriculum. (York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers, 2000.) p. 6.

I've skimmed through this book, and it seems good. I will post a review of the book on this site once I finish reading it.



Wanderer said...

Hi Robert ~ I came across your blog by clicking on links and ended up here! I think it's a wonderful idea to introduce a genealogy lesson into a high school history class. I have always loved history and genealogy, but never "got around" to talking to older relatives about their parents, grandparents etc and where they lived and came from. If you could get these children interested, and if they could "interview" their parents and other relatives, think how much they would learn! I wish I had done it when mine were still living, but oftentimes we think they will live forever.
I will check back to see how you are progressing! Best of luck to you,

Robert Baca said...


Thank you for posting on my blog. The reason why I think it's a great idea to teach genealogy in school is that it allows students an personalize history. It gives them a link to the important events and issues of the past.

Their parents, grandparents, etc. lived in the past and had to deal with the problems of the day. The reason for why the students are living where they are today has to do with the issues that their parents had to deal with during their times.

If anyone reading this post is interested in teaching genealogy in their classroom, I suggest that you meet with your local genealogy society. In New Mexico, there are two great state-wide organziations: The New Mexico Genealogical Society and The Hispanic Genealogical Resource Center. I have linked both groups' websites to this blog.

I also suggest that you check with sites such as, the LDS Family Search and the Library of Congress. All three sites have great tutorials and lesson plans that you can use in your classroom.

Of course, if you have any questions you may also send me a line or post a comment on this website.