I put together a simple, but cute little family 'tree' using some colorful clip art bunnies and flowers from openclipart.org. There is a boy version and a girl version, and it's only three generations, so simple enough for the youngest children. If you are seeing family for Easter, this would be a great little activity to do with the kids! Simple click on each photo to be directed to a downloadable PDF.
©2015 Emily Kowalski Schroeder. For personal use only. May not be reproduced or redistributed without written consent of owner.
I'm always looking for unique, interactive ways in which to help my children create and understand timelines. In general, timelines are great for teaching kids about historical events, but they can also be effectively used to illustrate and understand our ancestors' individual lives. I came across a pin on Pinterest entitled Stacked: Learning With Styrofoam Cups. One of the activities illustrated on the page was creating a historical timeline using simple white Styrofoam Cups. I thought this would work great for creating an ancestor's timeline, so that's what we did!
Photos, symbols, newspaper clippings, documents related to ancestor's life
Glue or clear packing tape
First, you must decide which life events you want to be represented in the timeline. I chose to make one for my maternal grandmother (my kids' great-grandmother). I included the main events, such as birth, death, marriage, graduation, and births of children. I also included other events such as immigration and joining the military, which are more unique to her life. You could also include events like moving, receiving sacraments, starting a new job, retirement - it's really up to you and your child. Once you choose the events you are going to include, write each year on the lip of a Styrofoam cup.
The next step is to find photos, symbols, newspaper clippings, or other documents to represent these different life events. Be creative! For example, I didn't have a photo of my grandmother emigrating from Italy, so, instead, I printed out a small clipping from her passenger ship manifest that shows her name, along with her mom's and sister's names. You could also just print out a clip art image of a ship or plane to represent immigration. I found a small newspaper clipping which mentioned my grandmother's work in the U.S. Coast Guard, so I printed it out and taped it, along with a photo of her in uniform, to that cup. It's a great way to introduce children to some of the records we use in genealogical research.
It was easiest for us to simple use clear packing tape to attach the photos, pictures, and newspaper clippings to each cup. Using glue was taking a little longer, because we had to hold the image around the cup until the glue dried. I also think the packing tape with hold up more in the long run as the cups are stacked and unstacked multiple times by the kids.
I also recommend writing a 1-2 word description of each event on the cup on the opposite side of the date.
Not only is this a great activity for teaching a child about one of his or her ancestors, but it also helps the child develop a sense of the past. Getting kids to look at dates and helping them understand the progression of years is an important step in understanding family history. You may find that the child would like to make a cup timeline of his or her own life, which would be a great idea!
For older children, I recommend making cups to represent important events in local or national history that influenced your ancestor's life. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard SPARS would never have been created if WWII hadn't happened, and my grandmother's life would have likely taken a completely different path if she hadn't joined the SPARS and subsequently met her future husband at a USO event. Adding these bigger events to your ancestor's timeline will help children realize the importance of historical events AND it will (hopefully) give them a sense of how their own lives are influenced by the current events of today.
©2015 Emily Kowalski Schroeder
St. Patrick's Day is March 17, and I've prepared ancestor worksheets for those of you who have ancestors who emigrated from Ireland. As always, there are male and female versions, both with and without notes. The 'Sources' page can be found at this link. Enjoy!
Remember to visit the Ancestor Worksheet link on GrowingLittleLeaves.com to access all worksheets anytime for free!
©2015, Emily Kowalski Schroeder. Worksheets for personal use only. May not be reproduced or redistributed without written consent of owner.
I decided to introduce the 'My Polish Ancestor' worksheets today, March 2, because it is Casimir Pulaski Day. This holiday commemorates the life of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish soldier and cavalryman who fought with the colonists in the U.S. Revolutionary War.
If you are like me, you may have ethnically-Polish ancestors who were born in what is now Poland, but what was then a different country, like Austria-Hungary or Prussia. Despite that, I decided to leave the wording on the worksheets as 'My ancestor was born in Poland,' so as not to confuse the young children that these worksheets are geared towards.
As always there are male and female versions of each worksheet - the female one featuring Polish-American opera singer Marcella Sembrich, and the male one featuring U.S. Civil War general (and Polish immigrant) Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski. The sheet for recording sources can be found at this link.
All worksheets can be found on the 'Ancestor Worksheet' page of GrowingLittleLeaves.com
©2015 Emily Kowalski Schroeder. Worksheets for personal use only. May not be reproduced without written consent of owner.
Today, March 1, is Saint David's Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales and March 1st is traditionally a national holiday in Wales. I've created a set of kid-friendly 'My Welsh Ancestor' worksheets for those of you who may have a Welsh ancestor in your family tree. Even though Wales, Scotland, and England are all part of the United Kingdom, each area has its own history, traditions, and language, so I intend to make separate English and Scottish worksheets, too.
For a general overview of the history of Welsh immigration to America, see this Wikipedia page. Click on each image for a free PDF of each worksheet.
All ancestor worksheets are for personal use only and can be found on the 'Ancestor Worksheet' page of GrowingLittleLeaves.com . A general worksheet for recording source information can be downloaded here.
Also, with any of these ancestor sheets, if your family has an ancestor who came to a country other than America (Canada, Australia, etc.), please let me know and I can tweak the worksheets and send them to you!
©2015, Emily Kowalski Schroeder
Emily Kowalski Schroeder
Founder and Author of Growing Little Leaves
Partnering with the Indiana Historical Society to create educational programming for children and their caretakers.