Boy Scout Merit Badge in Genealogy

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BSA Genealogy Merit Badge Requirements[edit | edit source]

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

2. Do ONE of the following:

a. Create a time line for yourself or for a relative. Then write a short biography based on that time line.
b. Keep a journal for six 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 educational 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.

Merit Badge Workbook[edit | edit source]

The following workbook is not required, but filling it out makes the merit badge easier to do for most scouts:[2]

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

The Genealogy merit badge pamphlet by the Boy Scouts of America is the primary starting place to learn about genealogy and how to complete the requirements for this merit badge. However, if you are interested in further information, learning from some of these online resources also could help a scout meet the requirements of the Genealogy Merit Badge:

Requirement 1.

Requirement 2.

Requirement 3.

  • Examples of possible interview questions to choose from (about 200)
  • More examples of possible interview questions to choose from (about 1800)
  • Here is a simple Family History Interview sheet for download. Family History Interview

Requirement 4.

Requirement 5.

Requirement 6.

Requirement 7. Complete the required forms.

Requirement 8.

Requirement 9. Prepare a summary of what you have learned.

Websites[edit | edit source]

The following Internet sites will also help you learn about the requirements to earn a Boy Scout of America merit badge in genealogy.

Merit Badge Counselor[edit | edit source]

All adults interested in being a merit badge counselor must first register with their local Boy Scouts of America council. More information may be found at:

BSA Genealogy Merit Badge Workshops[edit | edit source]

The following locations have in-person workshops where Boy Scouts accompanied by their parents and/or leaders can work on and earn their merit badge in genealogy. Some preparations will need to be completed prior participating in the activity. Click on the links below for additional information.

Source Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. "Genealogy" in Boy Scouts of America at (accessed 1 September 2011).
  2. from "Genealogy" in US Scouting Service Project at (accessed 1 September 2011).