Bill Hayes, star of the soap Days of Our Lives, and recorded the "Ballad of Davy Crockett," also has a PhD in education with a very personal interest in teaching genealogy to kids.
He brought his star power to the panel, "Teaching Genealogy to Children," and began with "Hello, my name is Bill and I’m a genealogist."
He made the distinction between names, dates and places – documented genealogy – and family history, which he maintains is all transmitted family memories, stories, traits, documented or not – the things that make our ancestors human beings.
In his experience, Bill has found that family histories are the answer to reaching bored students. Family history leads to real history and leads to a new understanding.
A five-page assignment to interview a relative older than 70, produces "amazing results."
Before he knows it, the student is writing, scanning maps and photos, writing history, geography and making timelines.
Other panelists were Daniel Horowitz, who has been teaching Jewish genealogy in Caracas, Venezuela; author Ira Wolfman, who has written two books on teaching genealogy to children, and Linda Volin, who has successfully used family history in ESL classes in America and China.