Resources to Empower the Next Generation of History Makers

Featured Discussion Guides for the Classroom

Ancestry® has partnered with Facing History and Ourselves - a global organization dedicated to empowering teachers and students to think critically about history - to develop a robust collection of resources for educators.

This selection of resources is designed to complement the extensive materials available for educators on Ancestry® with a focus on four thematic areas:

Race, Slavery, and Reconstruction


World War II and the Holocaust

The Power of Identity

These lessons, educational videos, and other classroom resources offer important historical context for students who are using archival material from Ancestry. Intended for students ready for deeper discussions of complex issues, Facing History's resources emphasize that history is a human story. Together, the Facing History materials and the Ancestry archival collection invite students to bring both their minds and hearts to the study of history, and to make connections between the past and present.

Each thematic area also includes a selection of professional learning opportunities for educators, from recorded webinars to classroom videos featuring master teachers. These resources help educators to build background knowledge, gain new strategies and craft more effective engaging instruction.

Note: All resources from Facing History and Ourselves are available free of charge on All recommended films and videos from Facing History and Ourselves stream via; some require educators to set up a free login to view.

AncestryK12® Resources (Available to Grant Recipients)

The resources available through AncestryK12 target a number of core subjects, with educational topics ranging from the American Revolutionary War to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. See below for a sampling of our most popular resources for educators:

  • U.S., Federal Census Records. Taken every 10 years, the U.S. federal census determines representation in Congress and fair taxation.
  • Ellis Island Oral Histories. Listen to the stories of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. Their experiences can help shed light on what many of our ancestors went through on their journey to the United States.
  • U.S., Interviews with Formerly Enslaved People, 1936-1938. The Federal Writers' Project was part of the New Deal, and employed writers to interview formerly enslaved people about their experiences during slavery.
  • Passenger Lists. This category covers arrivals through major and smaller U.S. ports, as well as several large international ports.
  • Citizenship & Naturalization Records. The collection of naturalization and citizenship records on Ancestry includes indexes, and some indexes are linked to images of the actual records.
  • World Memory Project. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry have created the World Memory Project to allow anyone, anywhere to help build the largest free online resource for information about victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II.
  • Find topics like war, social issues, famous people and more all sourced from newspaper articles found through history.
  • In 2014, on behalf of, the H.W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill undertook an exploratory study which found that being involved in family history research is positively correlated with all of these behaviors. Download the full study here.
  • Check out multimedia assets for the classroom here.

Family History in the Classroom

According to Family History in the Classroom, research shows that understanding family history is a powerful tool for building resilience, connection and understanding for all ages.

To help educators create their own family history classroom experiences, LEARN NC and Ancestry recruited a team of educators to explore family history in their classrooms using the Ancestry,, and Fold3 databases to create an enhanced digital textbook. Download materials

    • iBooks iBook —Recommended format—contains interactive videos and more. (1.1 GB)*
    • PDF (225 MB)

*Please note: To open the iBook version of this enhanced digital textbook, you will need to download the Apple iBooks software.

  • Check out the Research Guides on Ancestry.
  • Interviewing a family member? — Here are a list of questions that will assist in the process.
  • Printable PDFs of our most popular charts/forms - in particular the Ancestral Chart and Family Group sheet should be very valuable to keeping track of your family members. There are also blank census charts for each year that you are able to print out and study.