Family Tree Template

Genealogy Requirements and Non Traditional Families

Jerri wrote in with this question:

How do you do this genealogy achievement when you have children from non-traditional families? We have a foster child who does not know about his parents, one being raised by grandparents that aren’t biological (but at 8 isn’t aware of that fact), one that is being raised by his father and has no knowledge of his mother who gave him up at birth, etc, etc, etc.

Is there a way to do this genealogy thing without bringing up things that might hurt these children, or that they are too young to know? It seems that there are so many children being brought up by other people nowdays that there should be a way around this achievement. They are only 8 and I am not sure they need to know at the age about the sins of their parents (so to speak).

I would appreciate any ideas on this subject from anyone in the same situation. We have a great group of scouts looking and working hard towards their Bear badge. But we run into roadblocks like this one and don’t know what to do.

I should also add that I found your site when we were brand new Tigers (with No clue whatsoever, but a huge amount of “want-to” and “will-do”), and I bow to your knowledge and commitment. We copy your ideas and use them extensively, as does our entire pack now. Thank you for sharing with all of us, your ideas help us help these little boys become the men that we know they will become; and help us help them become the Scouts that make all of us proud.

Ideas for Genealogy Requirements and Non Traditional Families

Jerri, thanks for your dedication and for considering the needs of your Scouts.  Ask them who they consider “family”. Explain that family doesn’t always require a biological connection. A family can be defined by loving and caring for each other.  You might need to adjust according to the specifics. Instead of giving them a traditional family tree “form” to fill out, let them make a more free form representation of the important people in their lives.

Sometimes fewer instructions are better. If they want to go with a more traditional tree model, it is OK to add extra branches and shoots. When we did this with my den, we had a couple of kids with step-parents and step-siblings on both sides and they seemed to figure out how to add them in without any advice from me at all.

Readers, if you have any other ideas about how to handle genealogy requirements and non traditional families, please add your comments below.

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5 Responses to Genealogy Requirements and Non Traditional Families

  1. Christine October 14, 2013 at 8:59 AM #

    I would explain genealogy as a map of who you are biologically related to, but that doesn’t always mean that is your family. They can make their family tree about the people they consider family.

  2. Beth Latshaw October 14, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

    In the family trees that we made in my science class, I had the students use dotted lines instead of solid lines to denote non biological connections. As far as split families the child is connected to both biological parents and marriages were denoted by lines between the parents.
    (Mary married to John- had child Marita with an unknown father (if she was adopted by John, I would add in dotted lines from Marita to John, but keep solid line between Mary and Marita), Jake is son to John and Lisa, Lisa remarried to Joe and had son Jr.

    Mary—John Lisa—-Joe
    1 1 ____1 1
    Marita Jake Jr.

    • Beth Latshaw October 14, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

      Sorry spacing on the tree did not work.

  3. Donna October 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM #

    Have them check online pedigrees for individuals with the same surname as theirs. Instead of beginning their pedigree with themself, they can begin the pedigree with anyone further back. We often use this plan to help children/youth who are under court supervision. This helps them to see there is “life” beyond their current circumstances.

  4. Kellie October 14, 2013 at 9:33 PM #

    My mother remarried when I was a child and her husband adopted me. When he adopted me he became my father. He is my dad and my children’s grandfather. He is on my son’s family tree along with his parents (we did 4 generations). I think for this age the family tree should be about who they consider family even if they aren’t biological relatives.

    I love your website. I use it all the time to plan my meetings. Thank you!

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