Is there a story behind your naming? Someone famous, a family member, weird initials? 

This assignment is for those students who contacted me already regarding an alternative for the Family Project Assignment ONLY and the students who took Hisotry 1301 Summer I from me this summer.  All other students MUST complete the FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT

What is an autobiography?
An autobiography is a history of a person’s life, written or told by that person. Your autobiography must tell the story of your past, present and future.

According to sociologist C. Wright Mills, we can always discover an intersection between history and autobiography. Each person’s life unfolds within a particular historical period, and an individual can understand their own experience by locating their life within history. Each person’s life is shaped by historic events such as war, immigration, racism, oppression of women, economic recession, civil unrest, etc. As C. Wright Mills states, this discovery is, “in many ways a terrible lesson; in many ways a magnificent one.”

This quote is from Mill’s book, Sociological Imagination (1959). For an abbreviated presentation of the essay from which the quote comes, check out For the complete version of the chapter, go to (

For this little paper, focus on and craft a paper about the year you were born. 

What happened in that year in American history?

Your paper can discuss several notable events, or can focus on just one

How does your life intersect with history?

 Have certain historical events shaped your life or influenced your life plans?

Is there a story behind your naming? Someone famous, a family member, weird initials? 

Does your name have symbolic meaning? Is it ethnic or historic or literary?

How far back do you have knowledge of your maternal line?
Great-Great grandparents, etc.
Paternal line?
Great-great grandparents, etc.
Sometimes establishing these family lines is complex. If you are adopted or have a stepparent, you may have multiple lines of influence.

What do you think you could discover about yourself by being able to obtain more information about generations past?

Types of records available vary by country, time period and states within the US. U.S. records include such data as birth, marriage, divorce, immigration and naturalization records, military draft and service records and death and burial records. Many records are available online, although the U.S. census (and many state censuses) have a privacy screen of 75 years. 

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