The introduction of students (kindergarten through high school and college) to genealogy represents a powerful tool for helping them understand themselves as cherished and valuable members of a multi-generational community of people who respect each other and who seek to communicate their history and traditions honestly. 
(Please see important precautionary note below.  PHL )
The POORHOUSE STORY will  try to provide teachers with tools which can help them offer this introduction to genealogy and local history (with an emphasis on local poorhouse history) in a manner which can teach and reinforce academic skills and strengthen social values. 

There is a special benefit to utilizing poorhouse study in such lessons
-- Dealing with institutionalization and a population of people burdened with poverty in a respectful manner can help students whose families have experienced poverty or institutionalization (of whatever kind) feel less marginalized or less like "outsiders." The teaching of a history (especially a local history) which deals only with the Rich & Famous cannot do that!

However -- There can be a hidden pitfall when teaching genealogy to young people. Please read:

We intend this page to be

    a clearinghouse of information for teachers 
    a showcase of examples of websites 
          (which can serve as models for other classrooms who wish to contribute their research to the internet)

Please refer teachers to this site and encourage them to e-mail examples of similar work they have done in their own classrooms and suggestions they have regarding tools which they have found helpful. We would like to showcase a large collection of classroom poorhouse website projects here!     PHL


Please help us make this list of classroom poorhouse projects grow!!!
Indiana Parke County Turkey Run Jr/Sr High School Teacher: Karen Zach
Students in this school borrowed the original poorhouse record book for their community and created a name index of the residents who were listed in those records. They posted this on their website; and their teacher offers to do "lookups" of the more detailed information on each of these residents for people who e-mail her with such a request.
Michigan Hillsdale County Pittsford School Teacher: ?
Two 8th grade students created web pages about the Will Carleton Poorhouse in their community. This is the  poorhouse about which Will Carleton wrote a famous poem, "Over the Hill to the Poor-House."
New York Cortland County F. S. Barry Elementary Teacher:  Mrs. Wright
Student's photographed the old County Farm building and wrote a brief history.
(These are only a few examples of which we are aware, we invite you to provide us with more!)
[New York State] Personnel of The Albany County Hall of Records/Albany County Clerk offer a great teacher's kit (which includes wonderful county poorhouse material)--
THE OTHER SOCIETY THEN AND NOW: The Records of Social Welfare in Albany County
(A Teacher's Guide With Facsimile Documents and Photographs) by Joan S. Gross
funded by The Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund 
through the Albany County Hall of Records
[for information contact Craig Carlson at 
Note: Click here for information about the source of funding which was used for the above project.
Similar funding may be available in your community even if you live outside New York State     
Masterpiece Theatre Online is an excellent website which provides extensive resources for teaching to supplement the PBS television production (or the novel) of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Here we are providing you with a link to the resource page "Down and Out in Victorian England" which provides a very moving description of poverty conditions. (This is only one of several pages which can provide excellent stimulus to discussions of poverty which may be less threatening than an exploration of more local issues. Nevertheless, there are parallels which can be drawn which could include comparisons with American poorhouses of the 19th century. PHL )