The Family and Society Syllabus

Course Structure

Course Description

This course, in conjunction with the other courses in this program, will help prepare you to apply for a professional genealogy credential through ICAPGen or BCG. This course has been designed to provide you with solid academic content and practical research skills which are critical for a professional genealogist across many research settings. You will examine how important events in American history impacted law, society, and the family. You will develop an understanding of how events affect genealogical research, what records exist, where they are, and how researchers can use them.

Course Outcomes

As a result of completing this course, you will be able to do the following:

  1. Identify which family legacies (legal, social, economic, and religious) were inherited from Europe.
  2. Examine the effects of political forces (such as American independence) on family records, structures, and dynamics.
  3. Examine the effects of economic forces (such as industrialization or commercialization) on family records, structures, and dynamics.
  4. Analyze the effects wars and economic disruptions had on family records, structures, and dynamics.
  5. Describe the impact of immigration and settlement dynamics on the family, law, and society.
  6. Compare the significant differences experienced by African American and Native American families.
  7. Describe the evolution of individual rights in America as they pertain to rights of men, women, children, and minorities.
  8. Interpret US record sources (origins and purpose) for what they reveal about families in different historical periods.

Learning Model Architecture

The course follows a weekly cycle of Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder & Prove activities.

Prepare: Students will prepare by reading assigned texts and watching online lectures. Topics will cover historical changes in the relationship of the family to society. Examples from relevant record groups are provided to help illustrate these changes. Online quizzes will help hold students accountable for their preparation.

Teach One Another: Students will teach one another by participating in discussion groups.

Ponder & Prove: Students will ponder and prove by applying historic principles to a final research project. Interpretive skills regarding primary documents will be used in the final research project.


Week Topic
Week 01 Course Introduction
Week 02 Records that Reveal the Family
Week 03 European Legacies
Week 04 Colonial Diversity
Week 05 Revolutions Political, Economic, and Familial
Week 06 African American and Native American Families
Week 07 Industrialization and Immigration
Week 08 Companionate Family
Week 09 The Great Depression
Week 10 Impact of War
Week 11 The “Golden” Age
Week 12 Increasing Individualism
Week 13 Current Trends
Week 14 Final Project due

Course Overview

Course Expectations

Writing Requirements

In this course you will be required to write papers as part of certain assignments. You will need to follow the instructions carefully to write a professional, college-level paper. Make sure that your paper is focused on the topic assigned by your instructor. Be concise and clear. Rambling will not be accepted for full credit. Do not attempt to “pad” your responses by being wordy. Your papers should be well organized using paragraphs with correct spelling and punctuation standards.

To learn more about writing standards visit BYU-Idaho Writing Center website for tutorials and handouts. Tutoring sessions are also available to students in the Writing Center on campus or online via Skype. If your schedule does not coincide with the Writing Center hours (9:00 AM–5:30 PM [MT] Monday–Friday) you may email your paper to and receive written feedback for your paper within 48 hours. Visit the Help for Online Students page for more details on these resources.

Remember, it is your responsibility to understand and follow the instructions completely! If you have a question regarding an assignment, ask your instructor early for clarification. Do not expect last minute questions to be answered immediately. 

When writing research papers or essays that use information other than your own, it is important to cite from where you took those ideas. In this course, we encourage you to use Chicago Style. Visit the Online Writing Lab to see examples of how to cite sources. The book Evidence Explained is primarily based on the Chicago Style but also includes many examples of how to cite genealogical sources. While it is not required for this course, you may want to consider it for your personal library.

Course Requirements

Course Texts and Materials

Compare prices for your textbooks through the University Store Price Comparison site. They will show you all of the options from the University Store plus several online options to help you find the best price.

Weekly Time Commitment

The online class policy is that for every credit hour, you should expect to do 3 hours of work per week. This is a rigorous course and requires a lot of research and writing. For this class, you should plan on spending approximately 9 hours per week.

Grading Policies

This course is comprised of readings, activities, assignments, assessments (quizzes), and a four-part final project.

Final Grade Breakdown

Grading Scale Letter Grade
100% – 93% A
92% – 90% A-
89% – 87% B+
86% – 83% B
82% – 80% B-
79% – 77% C+
76% – 73% C
72% – 70% C-
69% – 67% D+
66% – 63% D
62% – 60% D-
Below 60% F


Work Type Overall Percentage of Grade


Activities are step by step procedures that you follow to gain experience with the new content being taught that week. Activities may contain many documents that need to be examined and analyzed. This is your chance to practice examining documents relevant to genealogical research. It is recommended that you take time to read and study the preparation materials prior to starting these activities. You will have three attempts to get 100%. After the third attempt, your highest score will be your grade.



This consists of writing assignments and discussion board activities. These assignments are graded by the instructor and require you to ponder and prove what you have learned in the week.



At the end of each week, you will take a quiz that will cover the course content for that week. You may use your notes and course materials to complete the quizzes.



The final project for this course is broken into four parts. One part will be completed each week during Weeks 11, 12, 13, and the course conclusion.

During the last four weeks of this course, you will prepare a final project which will be turned in for grading at the end of the course. This final project will use your knowledge of conducting oral interviews. You will need to interview three different people (preferably all directly related as in— grandfather, mother, son), one per week. For each interview, you will complete an Interview Preplanning Information form and type out a transcript of the interviewee's responses to your questions. The purpose of these interviews is to gain an understanding about the person's life as an adult during a specific era. For the final paper, you will compare and contrast how society and social roles have changed from 1950 to the present. This paper is not a discussion about what happened during the interview.



Project Timeline

Interview Guidelines

For each interview, ask about social roles and how they evolved. The following are some topics you may wish to discuss during the interviews:

Prior to the interviews, do the following:

During the interviews, do the following:

After each interview, do the following:

After conducting all three interviews, do the following:


If any technical difficulties arise throughout the course contact the Online Support Center or the Help Desk before contacting the instructor.

Online Support Center

Phone: (208) 496-1411 Email: Website: Text Messaging: (855) 808-7102 Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM, MT Skype: onlinesupportcenterbyui Live Chat: Available on the Online Support Center Website.

Help Desk

Phone: (208) 496-1411 Email: Website: Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 9 PM and Saturday, 9 AM to 5 PM


Materials on BYU-Idaho, I-Learn, and related sites may be protected by US Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). These materials are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

University Policies

Academic honesty is required, see Student Honor Office (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

See University Policies for full information.

Personal Conduct

All of your instructor or classmate correspondence must be respectful. Writing something disrespectful or “venting” is unprofessional and unbecoming of a university student. Also, it is not in accordance with the Honor Code of BYU-Idaho and is subject to discipline.

Sexual Misconduct

BYU-Idaho prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. Prohibited sex discrimination includes incidents of sexual harassment (including sexual violence), dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (collectively “sexual misconduct”).

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment for my students. University policy requires that I report all incidents of sexual misconduct. See, Addressing Sexual Misconduct at BYU-Idaho (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

BYU-Idaho does not discriminate against persons with disabilities in providing its educational and administrative services and programs and follows applicable federal and state law. This policy extends to the University’s electronic and information technologies (EIT).

Students with qualifying disabilities should contact the Disability Services Office at or 208-496-9210. Additional information about Disability Services resources can be found at (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Due to the nature of certain assignments in this course, some images do not include alternative text. If you need assistance with these images, please contact your instructor.