Family History Research Project

Family History Research Project

Your task is to find out about your families immigration story.  For some of you, your parents or grandparents may have been the ones to immigrate to Australia. For others it will be someone further back in your family’s history. Students of indigenous background can research their family story to share with the class.


You final presentation will include the following items.


Presentation Item Description

Country Research


Write down key facts discovered about each of the countries you are from (i.e., special holidays celebrated, languages spoken, foods, traditions, traditional clothes, and flag) and locate the countries on a world map.





Choose at least five (grade 3s) or ten (grade 4s) questions to use in an interview with a family member (preferably the oldest available relative). Students must write/type out the interview in question/answer format.

Grade 4s must also record their interviews.





Include a couple of artefacts ​from their heritage.

Each artefact should include an explanation of why it is important. Artefacts can include photos, special clothing, toys, heirlooms, certificates, documents, or anything you and your family feel is relevant to your cultural history.





A recipe of a favourite dish from your heritage.



Biography (Grade 3) or Short Story (Grade 4)


Biography (Grade 3)

Write a short biography of the life of a relative who has emigrated from another country to Australia. Turn the facts you learnt in your interview into a short couple of paragraphs explaining the key events in your relative’s life. Think of the stories we have read in class as examples.

Short Story (Grade 4) Write a short narrative based on the life of a relative who has emigrated from another country to Australia. Think of the stories we have read in class as examples.



Short Story

Use the questions below to plan your short narrative based on the life of a relative who has emigrated from another country to Australia:

  • How would you describe the main character?
  • What are the main events of the story?
  • When is this story set?
  • Where did the character come from?
  • Why did they leave their home to go to another country?
  • Where did they go (migrate) to?
  • What were their fears, hopes, joys?
  • What objects, skills, and stories from the past did they bring with them?


Relative Interview 

Choose at least five (grade 3s) or ten (grade 4s) questions to use in an interview with a family member (preferably the oldest available relative). You may choose to interview a family member about the life of an older family member, for example you may ask a parent about one of their grandparents who emigrated from another country.

When you are ready to conduct your interview, have the questions in front of you to make sure you are getting the information you want.

  • Make sure they are a balance of closed and open-ended questions
  • Take lots of notes
  • Conversations about family can go many directions; record any extra information shared

Below are some key questions you could ask. If you are asking a family member about and older family member just change the word you to they.

  • When did you come to Australia?
  • How old were you?
  • Did you come with family members or travel alone?
  • What form of transport did you take to come to Australia?
  • How long did the journey take?
  • What do you remember about the journey?
  • What were you able to bring with you?
  • Why did you decide to come to Australia?
  • What were your first impressions when you arrived?
  • Was it hard to settle into your new life?
  • What are your strongest memories of your country of origin?
  • Where do you call ‘home’?

Below are some extra questions you may choose from:

  1. What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
  2. When and where were you born?
  3. How did your family come to live there?
  4. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
  5. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
  6. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  7. Describe the personalities of your family members.
  8. What kind of games did you play growing up?
  9. What was your favourite toy and why?
  10. What was your favourite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
  11. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favourite?
  12. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
  13. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend primary grade school? High school? University?
  14. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
  15. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
  16. Who were your childhood heroes?
  17. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
  18. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
  19. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favourite foods?
  20. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
  21. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
  22. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
  23. What do you know about your family surname?
  24. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
  25. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
  26. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
  27. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
  28. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  29. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
  30. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
  31. Where and when did you get married?
  32. Why did you choose your children’s names?
  33. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
  34. What did your family enjoy doing together?
  35. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
  36. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?

Here is a downloadable word doc of this post: term 1 2018 research task_family immigration story

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