Maegan Kasteler | Oct 3, 2018

Boy Scouts of America Genealogy Badge

Do you have a child in your home that is an active participant in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) program? In order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, the participant must complete 13 required badges and 8 electives. One of the elective options is the Genealogy Badge.

The rank of Eagle Scout has gained notoriety in the United States as a title of distinction. On the BSA website scouting.org, it says:

“Since Arthur Eldred became the first Eagle Scout in 1912, the rank has represented a milestone of accomplishment—perhaps without equal—that is recognized across the country and even the world. Men who have earned the Eagle Scout rank count it among their most treasured possessions. “Eagle Scout” is not just an award; it is a state of being. Those who earned it as boys continue to earn it every day as men. That is why an Eagle Scout IS an Eagle Scout—not was.”

Along with the numerous leadership, civic, and service requirements one must complete to earn this distinguished title, the merit badge portion of the program is designed to teach the youth valuable life skills, physical fitness, and civic responsibility. Each badge has specific requirements that must be completed and signed off by a registered merit badge counselor.

The genealogy merit badge is no exception. Designed to help the participants learn more about their family and genealogical resources as well as aid them in starting his their own family history.

To obtain the genealogy badge, you must:

  1. Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.
  2. Do ONE of the following:
    • Create a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.
    • 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 email or letter. Record the information you collect so you do not forget it.
  4. Do the following:
    • Name 3 types of genealogical resources, and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
    • Obtain at least 1 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.
    • Tell how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4b.
  5. Contact 1 of the following individuals or institutions. Ask what genealogical services, records, or activities this individual or institution provides, and report the results:
    • A genealogical or lineage society
    • A professional genealogist (someone who gets paid for doing genealogical research)
    • A surname organization, such as your family’s organization
    • A genealogical educational facility or institution
    • 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 2 additional generations. You may complete this requirement by using the chart provided in this 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:
    • Explain the effect computers and the internet are having on the world of genealogy.
    • 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.

Find the merit badge pamphlet, which includes information for resources to help you complete the badge requirements here and locate a troop near you here.

And if you need some help completing task number 5, come join us at RootsTech in 2019. Register here.

Maegan Kasteler

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