Friday, October 26, 2012

Family Tree

Ayres, Katherine. Family Tree. New York: Bantam, Doubleday, Dell, 1996.

Tyler Stoudt has the strictest 6th grade teacher this year. She finds out that most of the year will be spent working on a family tree project that will be tied to just about everything else they study. There's only one problem. Tyler has no one besides her father. Her mother died before she was born. She's never met any of her grandparents. She knows her father's nationality is "Deutsch" and that her mom was "English." Imagine her surprise when she finds that her Dad's family was Amish and shunned him when he married her mom who was from Massachusetts. Tyler works very hard on her family tree and pieces together a lot of information. Of course, Tyler's project brings about some happy outcomes in regards to her family life as well. This is a great book to interest kids in genealogical research. Because I have Amish ancestry as well, I understood the differences in that culture more than some readers might. My one minor quibble with the book is that Tyler's Amish family was from Germany, and although some Amish families were in Germany, most of my Amish ancestors were Swiss. I would have preferred for the author to have made the Amish Swiss with perhaps a brief migration through the French Alsace region to show that "Deutsch" does not necessarily mean German. Still this is a good book to use with about 4th to 7th grade children who show an interest in genealogy or that you would like to gain an appreciation for it. 

By the way, it really doesn't go into a lot of methodology but relies more on interviewing relatives. It's really just a book which will perhaps give them enough information to get started. A parent or grandparent who has some experience could easily steer the child in the direction of more and better resources as the child is ready.

This is part of my Friday series on children's literature and genealogy.

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