I just came across this great post by history teacher Nate Kogan at his very interesting blog, The History Channel This is Not. As part of his U.S. history survey course, Kogan has students research their family history. Here is his assignment:
For this assignment each student will write a social history about the lives of one set of grandparents. Writing a family history requires interviewing family members, searching for old family records, and perhaps doing other research as well. However, a family social history is much more than a genealogical chart of names, dates, and significant events. Rather it is an attempt to reconstruct the lives your grandparents led, and your paper should have in it information on jobs, living arrangements, major problems, migration from place to place, social activities, personal relations, family information, and socioeconomic status. In addition to documenting and creating a narrative of the lives of your grandparents, you also need to contextualize their lives within the larger historical developments of the era(s) in which they lived. In other words, work to answer the question of how your grandparents’ lives were shaped by the surrounding events and developments they experienced in their lives. This question will require you to do background research on, analysis of, and writing about the broader cultural and social events of the 20th and 21st centuries and how those shaped your grandparents’ lives.
We will spend the bulk of the third quarter working on this assignment, much of which will be done independently while you’re working on other assignments. Therefore, it is vital that you be well-organized and diligent in completing the various steps of this assignment before it is ultimately due at the beginning of March. However, this flexible time-frame should also allow you to complete the steps of the process at times that are convenient in relation to your other obligations and allow you to conduct your interviews with family members at various times.
Read the rest of the assignment here.
Raymond Sheffield says
What about adopted children?
They may not know their biological grandparents and may not have any meaningful connection to their adopted ones also