Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Genealogy Merit Badge - Boy Scout Requirements

I was recently asked to be a counselor for Boy Scouts in the Chula Vista area for the Genealogy Merit Badge, so thought it might make an interesting blog post.

The requirement for obtaining the merit badge is posted on the Boy Scout Trail website here:

1. Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a. Do a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.
b. Keep a journal for 6 weeks. You must write in it at least once a week.

3. With your parent's help, choose a relative or a family acquaintance you can interview in person, by telephone, or by e-mail or letter. Record the information you collect so you do not forget it.

4. Do the following:

a. Name three types of genealogical resources and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
b. Obtain at least one genealogical document that supports an event that is or can be recorded on your pedigree chart or family group record. The document could be found at home or at a government office, religious organization, archive, or library.
c. Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4b.

5. Contact ONE of the following individuals or institutions. Ask what genealogical services, records, or activities this individual or institution provides, and report the results:

a. A genealogical or lineage society
b. A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing genealogical research)
c. A surname organization, such as your family's organization
d. A genealogical education facility or institution.
e. A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)

6. Begin your family tree by listing yourself and include at least two additional generations. You may complete this requirement by using the chart provided in the Genealogy merit badge pamphlet or the genealogy software program of your choice.

7. Complete a family group record form, listing yourself and your brothers and sisters as the children. On another family group record form, show one of your parents and his or her brothers and sisters as the children. This requirement may be completed using the chart provided or the genealogy software program of your choice.

8. Do the following:

a. Explain the effect computers and the Internet are having on the world of genealogy.
b. Explain how photography (including microfilming) has influenced genealogy.

9. Discuss what you have learned about your family and your family members through your genealogical research.

A Genealogy Worksheet in PDF format for the Scout to complete is posted here.

This seems like a pretty reasonable course of action to earn a Merit Badge for a Boy Scout. Is there a similar Merit Badge for Girl Scouts?

I look forward to helping the young men in the Chula Vista area with their genealogy Merit Badge work.


Paula Hinkel said...

Hi Randy! Great post about the Boy Scout Genealogy Badge. Did you know that our Kids' Family History Camp at Jamboree is built around the requirements for the badge, and nearly 80 Scouts earned their badge last year? We'll have another badge workshop in 2010. If you want more information about the Kids' Family History Camp, you can read all about it at

Barbara Poole said...

Sounds like a perfect project for you, and the boys will be so lucky to have you as their instructor. Have fun.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

There is no equivilant for the Girl Scouts, although there are some badges for Women's History etc. that do a little bit of some of these activities. The girls today also earn pins and charms for a bracelet. I ran a special interest group for the Girl Scouts for genealogy. We met for six weeks and did field trips, etc. It was just for fun, but no badges earned.

Donna Hansen Peterson said...

This is from the Tippiecanoe (IN)Historical website. Could be adapted for SCGS. The actual badge requirements can be found at

Enter the past--learn about how people used to live in the Fowler House, tour the Moses Fowler House, and play with simple old-fashioned toys.

Earn the Listening to the Past badge in one day! Activities include old-fashioned games and toys, learning and acting out stories from the past, and a walking tour of old Lafayette buildings.

Earn the Local Lore badge in one day! Learn about the Moses Fowler House, explore ways that Tippecanoe County has changed, and use your creativity to tell others about the past or the future. Program length: two hours.

Cadettes and Seniors:
Enjoy activities that contribute to the Heritage Hunt and Women Through Time badges. Search the Moses Fowler House and make a timeline of our county’s history. Compare modern households to Tippecanoe County homes in the past. Learn about life for women in Victorian times and experience toys and pastimes of girls in the past.

Liz said...

@Donna Jane, thanks for the link to that site. Great activities there! It reinforces what was my impression as a Girl Scout leader, which was that badges like Listening to the Past and Women Through Time could easily be adapted to genealogy activities. There's a fair amount of leeway for individual troop leaders to tailor a program.