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It’s Family History Month, and we recently provided tips from our genealogy expert for tracing your family tree. But we wanted to take the opportunity to share a story of how a third grade student recently helped her class research their own family tree by accessing HeritageQuest Online through MeL, the Michigan eLibrary.  

As a retired librarian from Houghton Lake Public Library in Michigan, Kim Frazho was happy when her granddaughter came to her asking for help with a family tree assignment for class. Kim takes advantage of these types of opportunities to teach Arianna Internet safety, how to find accurate information, and which sites are dependable when conducting research. Having been taught the importance of searching dependable sites to find reliable sources, Arianna is very familiar with MeL databases and she also uses them for help with math and science projects. This is why they turned to MeL when Arianna was assigned the task of researching her family history.

“We wanted to include a copy of an actual document for Arianna’s family tree book and we were able to find the census record of her great-grandfather on our first try,” shared Kim Frazho. Prepared with precise dates and locations, they were able to use MeL to access and search HeritageQuest Online, making their research easy. To complete the family tree book, they added family photos and other stories that they found while searching on HeritageQuest Online.

When Arianna turned her assignment in, her teacher was impressed and asked her to share it with the class and explain how she was able to add information, like the census document. The teacher also commented that Arianna's grandmother must have a subscription to a genealogy database to access all of the documents and that the other students wouldn’t be able to find the same records without a subscription. At this point Arianna took out her tablet and spoke up to say, "No, I got it from MeL for free,” and she showed her teacher how she accessed the HeritageQuest Online database through MeL to find the documents. Arianna’s teacher gave the rest of the class an extra day to search MeL for their own family history.

MeL provides all Michigan residents with free on-demand access to valuable research information. Although the teacher wasn’t aware of these fantastic resources, thanks to Arianna, she said she will have her class use MeL for more of their assignments in the future, and she will start using it as well. The statement “You learn something new every day” was proved to be true for this third-grade teacher.

Thank you to Deb Biggs-Thomas, eLibrary and Outreach Coordinator at the Library of Michigan, for sharing this story with ProQuest.

16 Oct 2014

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