HIS 350L • Genealogy and History-W
Genealogy is that part of history that traces family relationships over time. Most people are interested in finding out where they have come from, who their ancestors were, and what those ancestors did. In the past, such a search often required extensive effort, including widespread travel or considerable expense or both. The most readily available sources of information were those in possession of the family, including such things as letters, diaries, diplomas, birth and death certificates, inscribed family bibles, old photographs or home movies, newspaper clippings, and, of course, word of mouth. Other sources such as court records, social security information, police reports, city registries, passenger manifests, and many others were housed in libraries or other central repositories, many of them far removed from the locale in which the researcher was working. This necessitated at the very least time-consuming correspondence by snail mail. Often it was necessary to travel far and wide or alternatively to hire genealogical consultants. Today, thanks primarily to the web and email, it has become ever easier to conduct a genealogical search into the history of one's family. This course will teach students who have an interest in learning about their families the principles of genealogical research in the twenty-first century. Each student will apply those principles to researching his or her own family history and where possible, placing family members into a larger historical context.
Students will be expected to compile a portfolio on their family and, on the basis of that portfolio, produce a 15 page paper. The paper should summarize what they have learned about their family and its place in history. Both the portfolio and the paper will be returned to the student following the course.
Recent version of a major genealogical program such as Family Tree Maker. (A useful instruction book comes with the package.) Matthew Helm, et al., Genealogy Online for Dummies. Assorted articles on genealogy either posted on the professor's website or on the web.