Family History Project

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My kids and I are working on our family history project right now. We have hung a long sheet of butcher paper on the wall. First, we will put in some basic American History dates. Then, we’ll try to find as many family history dates as possible. Finally, we’ll find pictures to go with our events and paste them into the timeline. I hope to leave the timeline up so we can add family dates as we think of them and American History dates as we learn about them through books, online, or in classes. The most important thing is to establish a visual that demonstrates connections between cultural and personal history. I hope we can also collect family stories that reflect the times in which they took place. My kids are excited and can’t wait to see exactly where my birth falls on the timeline!

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Family History Project

  • Write in the birthdates of family members including parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and known ancestors.
  • Include dates of major moves, awards, and graduations.
  • If any family members fought in wars or served in the military, include them here.
  • Many families immigrated to the U.S. Include dates and names for any related immigrants in your family.
  • Create a timeline using butcher paper, permanent markers or paint, and all the dates that you can collect. If possible, paste family photos for your family history and find historical photos online to post about American History. Use different colored markers for American History and family events.
  • Leave the timeline up and add family events as you remember them and American History events as you learn about them.
Dates American History Family History
1000 – 1607 Discovery and Exploration

Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492 while searching for a trade route to China.

1607 – 1763 Colonialism Europeans started establishing colonies in the 1600s.
1763- 1800 Creating a New Nation The Continental Congress led to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War. In 1787, the U.S Constitution established the nation’s democratic structure.
1800 – 1850 Growth of America Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and roads, canals, and railroads allowed transport of people and goods across the country. To make room, Indian tribes were forcibly moved West.
1850 – 1876 The End of the Union Eleven states seceded from the Union and the nation plunged into Civil War with Lincoln’s leadership. The North’s victory restored the Union and four million slaves were freed. Reconstruction was a period of uncertainty and rebuilding.
1876 – 1900 Westward Expansion, Immigration, and Industrialization Many Americans moved West, partly due to a belief in Manifest Destiny. Some Indian tribes fought to retain their land but ultimately they were forced onto reservations. Many Americans moved from farms to cities and worked in factories and mills. Immigration significantly increased the population.
1900 – 1920 The Progressive Era and World War I Economic imbalance led to fights to reform political and social institutions, called “The Progressive Movement.”
1920 – 1929 The Roaring Twenties The party decade saw quick wealth, illegal clubs, and the new sounds of jazz.
1929 – 1939 The Great Depression and the New Deal The stock market crash of 1929 led to the Great Depression as banks failed, wages were cut, and unemployment soared. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” eased suffering and put thousands to work.
1939 – 1945 World War II The Japanese attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered WWII in 1941. The Allies included the U.S., Britain, and Russia. In 1945 Germany surrendered and the full extent of the Holocaust was understood. Japan surrendered in 1945 following the drop of two atomic bombs.
1945 – 1960 Cold War, Vietnam War, Korean War Communist countries engaged in an ideological conflict with the “Free World.” Many feared nuclear war. American soldiers fought in Korea.
1960 – 1979 War, Protest, Civil Rights President Kennedy inspired Americans and his assassination devastated many. Martin Luther King, Jr., sought equal rights with nonviolent demonstrations. Many Americans protested the war in Vietnam.
1980 – 1999 The Global Age The Soviet Union crumbled, the Cold War came to an end, and the economy revived. Many Americans amassed great wealth. The internet boom brought about a time of technology.
2000 plus A New Millenium The War on Terror and debates about U.S. involvement abroad take center stage.
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