Boy Scout Merit Badge in Genealogy
BSA Genealogy Merit Badge Requirements
1. Explain to your counselor what the words genealogy, ancestor, and descendant mean.
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
The following workbook is not required, but it helps make completing the merit badge easier for most scouts:
Some of the online resources available to help a scout meet the requirements of the Genealogy Merit Badge include:
- Examples of possible interview questions to choose from (about 200)
- More examples of possible interview questions to choose from (about 1800)
- Evaluate the Evidence an in-depth explanation for genealogists
- List of genealogical societies
- List of lineage societies
- Lists of professional genealogists
- List of surname and family organizations
- List of genealogical educational facilities
- List of genealogical record repositories
- blank Family Group Record form (pdf format)
- blank Pedigree Chart form (pdf format)
- List of free genealogy software that can generate filled-in genealogical forms
For the remaining requirements see the Genealogy Merit Badge booklet.
The following Internet sites will help you learn about the requirements to earn a Boy Scout merit badge in genealogy.
- Boy Scouts of America - Genealogy Merit Badge requirements, books, magazines, archives and libraries, genealogical societies, links to genealogy websites, and software.
- US Scouting Service Project - Genealogy new vs. old requirements, pedigree chart form, family group record form, and merit badge worksheet.
- MeritBadge.Org - Genealogy merit badge status, requirements, pdf workbook, and links to websites.
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:
- Guide for Merit Badge Counselors information about being a merit badge counselor.
- "Genealogy" in Boy Scouts of America at http://scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/MeritBadges/mb-GENA.aspx (accessed 1 September 2011).