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What is Your Family Story

Student Holding Up His Family History thumbnail209408
Student Holding Up His Family History thumbnail209409
Student Researching His Family History thumbnail209410
Student Researching Her Family History thumbnail209411

James Wilson Young Middle School students unlocked their families’ history through a unique project which afforded them the opportunity to explore the past through Ancestry.com. Through a grant acquired by library media specialist Susan Henke-Brinkman, students in Peggy Vallely’s eighth grade social studies class explored their family history and elders’ immigration history using the district’s technology.

The project turned out to be more successful than initially intended with students accessing invaluable, digitized documents that told their relatives’ stories. For example, one student accessed a relative’s yearbook information and a World War II draft card, which a personal signature. Another student found a photo of the ship his grandfather sailed on to America. Interestingly, another student found information about his great uncle being the creator of the zip tie.

“I had always heard the stories about how he invented the zip tie, but now I can actually prove it,” the student said.

“The students were able to download digitized copies of the information that told their relative’s story,” Ms. Henke-Brinkman explained. “This project elicited so many conversations and opened the lines of communication between the students and their grandparents.”

One student learned more about his family tree by examining a 1930 census that explained his relative’s immigration data, where he lived and with whom. Likewise, another student learned from census information that her great grandmother was born in Germany.

Ms. Vallely said, “So many pieces of the puzzle helped the students fill in the gaps of their relatives’ stories. The project was an exceptional and invaluable opportunity for the students to learn more about their families’ history.”

Date Added: 1/13/2022

Bayport-Blue Point Eagle