Who Are You? - Norwin School District

Who Are You?
Being American, we have been brought up knowing that we are part of a “melting
pot.” For the most part, our ancestors did not live on this continent. Throughout the past
500 years, people from countries around the world have come to America to start a new
life and live out their dreams. We are the ancestors of those brave and ambitious people. While we consider
ourselves to be American, our heritage can go further back than you can expect. Your task is to go back in
time and find out as much as you can about your family, which country or countries your ancestors were from
and find out how the culture of those that came so long before you is still recognized in your family today.
How are you going to do this?
1. You will start with a basic family tree which I will provide to you. You will need the help of your
parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This tree is very basic. You will need to keep extra notes to
include information that you will need to help you in your process. I will be providing folders for you to
keep all of this information in.
a. You will need to find out maiden names of the women in your family. This will help you in your
search since most women change their names when they marry.
b. Find out towns and states that you know your family members lived in. There are census
records that we can search later on to help in the search to find out who you are.
c. Look for old photographs. This can sometimes give you a better idea of what time period you
are dealing with if you are unsure. Clothing and sometimes even the background can be a
major help.
2. You will be given a very detailed list of resources that are available to you. Throughout your journey,
you will have the help of multiple teachers and librarians that will assist you in finding out information.
You will want to try to go as far back as possible. You will find in your genealogy search that your
family has probably moved around throughout the years and maybe there are reasons why that we
can discover.
3. You will need to try to find a country of origin. In many cases, there were reasons why our ancestors
decided to leave their home and start over here in America. We might be able to find out why your
family decided to come over!
4. After finding out information regarding your family origin, you will need to research the culture as well.
You may just find out that your family does many more cultural/heritage based things than you think.
a. Are there special traditions that you and your family continue during a holiday? (Think of my
story about throwing the walnuts)
b. Are there special foods that your family eats that are considered culturally important?
c. Is there special music that your family listens to during family events that is considered to be a
part of your heritage?
d. Is there any special clothing or dancing that is considered culturally important? (This could be at
cultural events or weddings)
During the research process, you will be required to keep notes and document where you were able to find
your information. Once all of your research is complete, you will write a research paper that will inform the
reader of your process to discovering what you learned about your family.
Starting Tuesday, September 17th, I will hold public library hours from 6-8 pm. I will do this every Tuesday
until the rough draft of the paper is due. If I think that there is a need for more hours, I will have them.
However, if I feel that there is no participation, I will cancel the hours. I will have sign-up sheets in my room
for you to let me know if you are planning on taking advantage of this opportunity.
Note Pages- October 18th
The note pages will be graded. However, that does not mean that you will stop researching. This is a way for
me to ensure you are working on your project and collecting appropriate information.
Thesis- November 1st
I will need to sign off on your thesis before you can start your paper.
Rough Draft- November 29th
You will be responsible for editing one of your peers papers. Please make sure you are prepared.
Final Paper- December 13th
No exceptions! I have given you plenty of time to get this done.