Friday, January 29, 2010

Middle School Kids Do Real Research (Genealogy)

I'm still feeling kind of a glow from the Jan. 27 session with Junior High kids at the PVCW library.  [PVCW = Pommerscher Verein Central Wis.; a 600-member club that works to  preserve our Low German language and culture.]
The Marathon middle school project, "Becoming American", included this trip to our little library/archive in the middle of Town of Berlin in Marathon County, Wis.
Marathon Middle School students came to the Pommern Verein library as part of a nine-week unit on immigration.  Students had taken part in an Ellis Island simulation two days earlier.  They were tracing their family pedigree at the Pommern Verein, the historical society, and the Marathon Branch Library. They will write a story about their family's immigration struggles, and then begin a study of the Hmong in Wisconsin.
Twenty-one students researched their family at the Pommern Verein library.
I think the kids truly were interested in the records, resources, pictures, etc at the library, because they stayed focused for close to three hours!
These were some of the successful searchers:  Carson and Tori Seehafer found their great-and great-great grandfather and a great-great grandmother named Euphronia! 
BreAnn Kreager found a book with a photo of her great-grandmother.  Kourtney Stuttgen found her great-grandfather's farm and a newspaper article about an 1898 tornado that killed Kourtney's great-great grandfather and also killed Shanna Weber's great-uncle. 

Darlene Wiedman, one of the adults helping the researchers, worked with Bryce Schultz who  found his great-, great-great- and great-great-great grandfathers.  She also provided information to Dakota and Dawson Kummerow about Phyllis Kufahl and the Behnke family.  Darlene said,
"I believe the kids were truly interested and were very well behaved.  It was a wonderful
experience for me and the kids.  I hope they will continue to research their
families and their German Heritage."

Below:  Teenage boys can conduct a serious conversation with adults!   The adults here are Gary Klingbeil and Bob Gruling.

Justin, Jeremy, and Kayleigh Natzke and their cousin Ericka Kuehn found three of their great-grandparents' homesteads in town of Hamburg.   In the 1930 Farmers Directory (a special version of plat maps) they compared how one of the three farms had a telephone while the others did not, and that one of the farms had "mixed breed" chickens while the other had White Leghorns.  Helen Weber is the (retired) teacher helping the Natzkes and Erica Kuehn.

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