Genealogy Merit Badge
Revised January, 2023
Requirements for the Genealogy merit badge:
- Do EACH of the following:
- Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.
- Explain what a family tree is and what information would be kept there.
- Explain what a family group record is and what information would be kept there.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do EACH of the following:
- Name three types of physical genealogical resources and where you can find them, and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
- Name three types of digital genealogical resources and where you can find them, and explain how these resources can help you chart your family tree.
- Obtain at least one genealogical document that supports an event that is or can be recorded on your pedigree chart or family group record.
- Tell how you found it and how you would evaluate the genealogical information you found for requirement 4c.
- Tell a likely place to find these type of genealogical records: marriage record, census record, birth record, and burial information.
- 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 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 education facility or institution.
- A genealogical record repository of any type (courthouse, genealogical library, state or national archive, state library, etc.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Do the following:
- Explain the effect computers and the Internet are having on the world of genealogy.
- Explain how photography has influenced genealogy.
- Explain how record indexing works and how that has influenced genealogy.
- Discuss what you have learned about your family and your family members through your genealogical research.
Sep 01, 2014 - Lester Van Huss
I would like to commend the BSA for providing incentive for young Scouts to learn about their heritage. Being a former scout and honored with receiving membership into the Order of the Arrow in the 1970's I have been doing my genealogy for several years. Curiosity lead me to "google" and see if this type of Merit Badge was available. To my surprise it is and I am proud Genealogy Research is promoted and rewarded to the many Scouts of our Nation. My reasons for research are for the benefit of my Children and their children should they ever want to know about their heritage. The primary goal I set out to achieve - establish a well researched foundation for my lineage, alleviate the endless hours of research and provide a historical foundation should any of my family choose to carry on with the work I have already started. I highly recommend this Badge of interest to any and all fellow Scouts.
Jan 15, 2015 - Joseph Fibel, Jr.
I am also an Eagle Scout,(1943) an OA member, and long ago Scoutmaster. I have been involved in Genealogy for more that 35 years ans have created extended family histories for both my wife and my own families which I have distributed to all interested family members. I believe that you are a better and more integrated person if you know where ever you came from as well as your family history. Therefore I believe in the importance of this Merit Badge.
Oct 11, 2016 - M Dunford
My mother has done a lot of genealogy work already. I hope by earning this merit badge it will help to ignite my grandson's interest in his history.
Feb 26, 2022 - Bob McGowan
This merit badge should be revised to include a discussion about the role of DNA in genealogy. That omission, and the use of paper pedigree and family group sheets makes this merit badge feel dated. Despite having worked on my family tree for 15 years, teaching this merit badge was the first time I had ever filled one out.
Jun 19, 2023 - Joann Larabee
I agree with Bob McGowan's comments above. All that pap- erwork just creates another layer of "stuff" to keep track of, totally unnecessary when most of today's scouts are beyond computer literate! Also, DNA is the backbone of genealogy research when you go beyond three generations, and even earlier for some folks.
Jan 26, 2024 - Michelle
I enjoy this badge. As a genealogy volunteer I like the writing on a family sheet tree idea. I do think dna info should be added to the badge. This badge feels incomplete. This does not make it dated, but as with sculpture, there are many more ways to do sculpture...things are missing from the basic information.
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