Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Thank you for joining me for September's Heritage Challenge - School Days. At the bottom of the post you will find the specific details and links for the challenge, but please keep reading for some helpful tips.
In the Northern Hemisphere, August and September are back to school months. Most of us Moms are bustling about, making lunches, checking backpacks and either waving our kids goodbye at the door or joining them at the kitchen table to teach them ourselves. If you are in this stage of life, please document the comings and goings. A good way to do this is to keep a little blank book for each child (or just one of the whole family) - you can jot down dates of events, milestones and accomplishments. Then when you are ready to scrapbook these times, you will have the information all ready. This is history and heritage in the making!
The days we spend pursuing education are often foundational to the rest of a person's life or at least significant in their memories. Were they educated at home or do they go to school? Was it a public school? Private school? Was it a positive experience or was it a difficult time? What do they remember? Who were their teachers and friends? Did any of their teachers influence who they became later in life? Are they still friends with some of their schoolmates? Did they pursue a specific career path through school or did they apprentice for skilled labor? Maybe they only went to school seasonally because they lived and worked on a farm.
Perhaps you have heard that Grandma "only had an 8th grade education." Before you look down your nose and think she must be ignorant, do a search to find out what type of tests they had to pass to graduate. Some people have said "this doesn't prove anything." I don't know, I saw one of these tests in person from my home state and it was tough. "Back in the day" there were no frills to education and you got right down to business in your learning.
What if you would like to know more about your parents, grandparents or other older relative's school days but they are no longer living? First make a thorough search through family papers, records, memorabilia etc. You may find clues in cherished photos, newspaper clippings and so on. If you live in the same area, there are several options. Find out if the school is still in existence. Many older schools continue to educate young pupils. Some schools have been torn down as time passed and other school buildings serve new purposes. If it is still operating as a school, find out if the school or the school district, have kept any historical records, photographs, yearbooks and memorabilia. Another place to check would be your county's board of education office. Public libraries may have "local history" section containing yearbooks, newspapers and other historical data. Other places to check are the local genealogy library, Family History Center, historical society, alumni associations and town newspaper. Remember to speak with any older people who may be still living in the area. Perhaps they knew your relative. They might even have photos or yearbooks that would have photos of your relative!
Many schools have digitized their yearbooks and you can do a search for companies online who specializing in putting school mates back in touch. A lot of these are more modern, but some have earlier 20th century information as well.
Here are some web resources with information on doing research with alumni associations and old newspapers:
(Me with my teacher on the last day of Kindergarten)
So, what is the challenge? Create a page documenting your own education, your child's or your ancestors. Use some journaling to explain and find out as much information as you can. Post your layout in the challenge gallery and in the challenge forum. There will be a posting bonus gift given. You have until the 2nd Thursday of October to get your layout done.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you find out and learning about you and your family's education experiences! Forget-Me-Nots by Theresa Lindamood
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