Questions from high school

My son just began his freshman year in high school this month.  In "American Experience," the class that my generation simply called "U.S. History," he's been given an assignment that boils down to a unified genealogy and history report, with an emphasis on migration patterns across the country.  This week, students are working on their four-generation pedigree charts, which connects back to their great grandparents.  Sure, I could just print a pedigree chart from the database, but that would be cheating for this assignment.  He's got to do that part on his own, and then when he's done that, we'll check it over and compare it with the data that I have in my genealogy database.

The more interesting part of this assignment is the section where he will show how our family's migration fits in with national migration patterns and the events of the day.  His teacher gave him a set of questions to guide researching and writing the report, and I think they should also be answered by genealogists who spend a little more time researching than most of the students will.  The research questions are:
  1. Why did the movement happen? What pushed people out of where they were and what pulled people to where they went?
  2. Was there a turning point in history that prompted your family's move? Explain.
  3. How was their life in the new place different from their life in the old place and how was it the same?
  4. How did your family's life change as a result of this movement?  How significant was the change in your family's life?
  5. How did your family adapt to their new environment?
  6. How did the move affect your family's ethnic identity?
  7. How is your family's ethnic identity today similar to or different from the past?
  8. How complete was your family's assimilation to their new environment?
  9. Why did your family choose the places they went?
  10. What were your family's experiences getting into the United States if they moved from another country?
  11. How was your family treated by the people in the area once they came to the new place?
  12. How did your family travel in their movement?
  13. How was your family's movement affected by any major pieces of U.S. legislation?
  14. How was your family's movement affected by any major historical events?
  15. How was your family's movement affected by wider patterns of settlement and movement in history?
  16. Has your family's movement affected or been affected by any type of music, food or religion?
  17. How has education affected your family's movements?
  18. How have political events or violence affected your family's movements?
  19. How has your family's movements helped shape the "American" identity?
Answering a couple of these questions as they relate to stubborn research subjects, our "brick wall" ancestors, we might be able to make a few breakthroughs and continue our research in other directions.

1 comment:

DianaR said...

Thanks so much for posting these questions - what a great idea to try and answer them for our ancestors...especially the problem, or brickwall, ancestors.

I'm printing this out to keep by my computer. I think the answers will also make some great blog posts!!