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.  I think you are referring to the family tree requirement in Bear Achievement 8 – The Past Is Exciting and Important . Note that this is an optional requirement.  They only need to do two of the first six requirements. So if you feel the Cub Scouts would be best served by not discussing their genealogy,  you can choose to do two which do not require them to know their parents’ history.

They could do requirement c: “Start or add to an existing den or pack scrapbook.” I have done this one with my dens and they enjoyed it. Just have some photos for them, stickers, and scrapbook pages. They don’t need to do a thirty page scrapbook. Any amount will work as long as they get the idea of recording their own history.

Another one which is a good alternative is requirement b: “Find someone who was a Cub Scout a long time ago. Talk with him about what Cub Scouting was like then.” If you ask, it is usually not that difficult to find somebody who was a Cub Scout 30 years ago or so. Den leaders sometimes think this one sounds boring, but really the Cub Scouts enjoy it. If you can find somebody who has some old patches or memorabilia, that is great. But even just someone who can tell some stories about what they remember from their Cub Scout days will work. Your Cub Scouts will learn that some things were different, but many of the things which Cub Scouts did back in the day are the same things they enjoy doing now.

So you could do b and c, along with the required g, and never even have to touch on personal family history.

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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