Discuss how family history can help produce
feelings of self-worth.
Use a vocabulary common to the study of
Begin to write known family information
onto a pedigree chart.
Ancestor: a person from
whom one is descended (e.g., father, mother, grandparents,
etc.not aunts or uncles).
Genealogy: the science
of studying about our ancestors (also called family history).
Generation: the average
span of time between the birth of parents and that of their
children (approximately twenty to twenty-five years).
Given Name: a person's
Maiden Name: a females
surname or family name at birth.
Maternal Line: the line
of descent on the mothers side.
Nickname: an informal
version of a given name (e.g., a person with the last name
of McDowell could have been called "Mac" or
"Mic" by his friends or a girl with the name Elizabeth
may be known as "Liz" or "Beth").
Paternal Line: the line
of descent on the fathers side.
Pedigree: an ancestral
line or line of descent.
persons last name or family name.
EPISODE ONE: GETTING
This first episode presents helpful insights for
starting your family history. Part one introduces Victor
Villaseņor. He grew up in Southern California as a
Mexican-American, feeling outcast and ashamed. When he
began to look at his past, he found great value in
learning about his ancestors. In part two, expert Desmond
Allen introduces the pedigree chart, and explains how to
use it as an important tool for recording information
about your ancestors.
Before Viewing the Episode
- Duplicate the student handout on the next page,
and the pedigree chart found later in this
- Explain what the Ancestors Series is about (see INTRODUCTION).
Read aloud the EPISODE OVERVIEW and OBJECTIVES.
- Briefly review the VOCABULARY words with your
- Distribute only the student handout page. Wait to
distribute the pedigree chart until you begin
- Review the questions in ACTIVITY 1.
After Viewing the Episode
Discuss family history and self-worth
- Encourage students to discuss the episode and
share their observations about Victor
Villaseņor. Discuss how Victor developed
feelings of self-worth by learning about his ancestors.
Use the following questions to stimulate discussion.
They are the same questions as on the student handout.
- About how old was Victor when the redheaded boy
named Howard told him he was bad? (Victor had not
yet started kindergarten.)
- What did Howard expect Victor to be carrying with
him? (A knife.) Note the dialog below.
(Victor: "I dont got a knife."
Howard: "Mexicans always got knives .
. . I cant play with you, Mexicans
are bad people."
Victor: "Oh, I didnt know, Im
sorry.") Note the innocence and sensitivity
of Victors response to Howard. Point out
the emotional harm that can come when we
stereotype and judge a person without knowing
- What words did Victor use to describe himself
after his experience with Howard? (He felt his
people were bad, stupid, and dangerous.) Note how
Victor explained it. ("Im not even in
first grade and I already know that my people are bad,
stupid, other people are frightened of them, they
carry knives and theyre dangerous.")
- Who did Victor begin to resent? (His parents.)
Why? (Because he thought that they had lied to
him.) Remember that Victors father told him
that everyone was Mexican, and if they were not,
then they should be.
- After Victor went to Mexico (at age nineteen) and
learned more about his culture, what did he
realize about himself? What did he say? ("I
come from somebody, from somewhere. I am
- Who became Victors greatest heroes? (His
- In Victors story about his father running
to catch the train to rejoin his family, what was
pulling and pushing his father? (Love for his
mother and family pulled him and fear of being left
alone in the desert pushed him.) Note how Victor
- When Victor started talking and getting to know
people deep inside, what did he begin to realize
about an ordinary story? (An ordinary story can
became . . . great (and) wonderful.)
- What did Victor say about those of us who think
we are "nobodies?" ("We that think
we are nobodies have very special stories.")
Complete the Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle
- Review the vocabulary words with your students
and give examples, as needed, from the
definitions in the left-hand column on this page.
- Have students complete the activity.
- The answers are:
Down - 1. Nickname 2. Paternal 3. Maiden 4.
Genealogy 5. Ancestor.
Across - 4. Given 6. Maternal 7. Surname 8.
Pedigree 9. Generation.
Begin Filling In a Pedigree Chart
- Distribute copies of the blank five generation
- Have your students:
- Use a pencil.
- Write down as much information as they can
- Follow the key concepts.
On to the
Activity Page | Back to