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Ancestry.com.au’s new free online teaching resource, My Place in HistoryTM, brings family history to Australian classrooms


Ancestry.com.au’s new free online teaching resource, My Place in HistoryTM, brings family history to Australian classrooms

**Embargoed until 00:01 for 26 October 2010**

According to research released today by Ancestry.com.au, almost 60 per cent of Australians believe it is important for children to know about their family history in order to better understand who they are today, and why Australia is the way it is.

Conducted by The Online Research Unit, more than half of Aussies surveyed also believe teachers have a major role in educating children about family history, with an overwhelming 74 per cent feeling the most effective learning method for their children is through first-hand experience.

In addition, more thanhalf believe children who know about their ancestors will be better connected to their family, with 65 per cent of respondents agreeing it is important to ensure children understand who they are.

To coincide with this research, Ancestry.com.au today announced the launch of My Place in History,a free web-based educational program for teachers. The program enables each student to delve into their heritage and learn first-hand about their family history, whilst also exploring the many economic, political and social circumstances that have impacted and shaped who we are today.

Louise Zarmati, Doctoral Researcher, Deakin University, said the survey findings reflect a number of academic studies: "In educational fields we have long realised that first-hand experience gives the best learning outcomes.

“It’s through new resources like My Place In History that teachers can bring family history into the classroom and create a unique and engaging learning experience for our children to understand their history alongside community history.”

Building on the recent increase of interest in family history, students will be able to create family trees online, whilst learning about the key drivers of change within our society during the lives of their ancestors - wherever they came from - and how these changes have impacted their own identity, as well as that of their family and society more generally.

“My Place In History brings history to life for students by putting the experiences of their ancestors in context with global history, personalities and events. This program is highly engaging and will see students eager to learn more about their past,” said Josh Dunn, Teacher, St. Matthews Catholic School, Mudgee.

“My Place In History services as a fun, educational resource for students and it’s also an opportunity for teachers to upload and explore their family history too.”

Debra Chesterton, Managing Director, Ancestry.com.au, said: “Ancestry.com.au has created an interesting and engaging online resource to help teachers, children and parents understand the various ways in which the world has changed, from one generation to the next.

“What better way to make this relevant and meaningful to our children than by encouraging them to learn about our history through the lives of their own family. It’s a great project that starts in the classroom and one that the whole family can then do together.”

The online teaching resource includes a step-by-step teaching program (including learning outcomes, lesson outlines, discussion topics, and cross curricula activities), questionnaires, and space to upload teachers’ own personal resources.

The website also includes a tool for teachers and students to build their family tree and a range of interactive activities that are designed to make learning fun and engaging for students and teachers alike.

The free program, designed by teachers for teachers, runs over three units and has been developed to neatly slot into each State’s individual teaching curriculum. The three units are:

Unit 1: Change through History

Students will learn about significant changes that have occurred over time in transport, communication, manufacturing, housing, leisure, food, technology, purchasing and medicine.

Unit 2: My Society through History

Students will develop an understanding of history as it applies to their community. The initial focus is on the school; the subsequent focus is on a section of a nearby community.

Unit 3: My Family History

Students will research and understand a minimum of two generations of their own family tree through the use of oral history and interactive resources.

Teachers can register and get started by visiting: www.myplaceinhistory.com

Through the creation of My Place in History, Ancestry.com.au is allowing people to discover, preserve and share their family history, as they believe that this is an activity whole family can enjoy doing together, regardless of their generation.



Carla Dovgan                                                                Jacquie Potter

Howorth                                                                        Howorth

P: 02 8281 3856                                                            P: 02 8281 3893

M: +61 411 437 411                                                       M: +61 414 449 070

E: carla@howorth.com.au                                              E: jacquie@howorth.com.au


Officially Australia’s leading website for family history resources, Ancestry.com.au contains more than 930 million records in its Australian and UK collections including the Australia Birth, Marriage and Death Index, the Australian Convict Transportation Registers, the Australian Free Settlers, Australian Electoral Rolls, New South Wales SANDS Directories, as well as the most complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses and the England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes.

Ancestry.com.au was launched in May 2006 and belongs to the global network of Ancestry websites (wholly owned by Ancestry.com Operations Inc.), which contains five billion records. To date more than 19 million family trees have been created and 1.9 billion names and 45 million photographs and stories uploaded. (Figures current as of 30 September 2010)

The Ancestry global network of family history websites:www.ancestry.com  in the US,www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.ca  in Canada, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.dein Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.frin France, www.ancestry.sein Sweden andwww.jiapu.com in China.

* comScore, 2009, based on genealogy related websites selected from the Family and Parenting sub-category under the Community category

**The Australians’ attitudes towards family history survey was commissioned by Ancestry.com.au in September 2010 and was conducted by The Online Research Unit (ORU) who polled a nationally representative sample of a 1000 people across Australia aged 18 and over.