Pátranie v AJ

Educational project

Know Your Past


In Search Of Your Ancestors


5th Annual

Author of the project:         PhDr. Ľubomír Pajtinka, email:


Author of the project: PhDr. Dušan Škvarna, PhD.

                                    PaedDr. Viliam Kratochvíl, PhD.

                                    Filozofická fakulta UK Bratislava

                                    Prof. PhDr. Matúš Kučera, DrSc.

                                    PhDr. Ivan Mrva, CSc.

                                    Ústredný archív SAV

                                    PhDr. Dušan Čaplovič, DrSc.

                                    Slovenská akadémia vied

                                    PhDr. Ladislav Vrteľ, CSc.

                                    Archívna správa MV SR

                                    Mgr. Milan Šišmiš, ml.

                                    Slovenská národná knižnica – kabinet genealógie

                                    Mgr. Zdenko Ďuriška

                                    Slovenská národná knižnica – Národný biografický ústav

                                    Mgr. Pavol Kravec



Aim of the project:

The aim of the project is to encourage our  young people to get interested in  their past, present and future. The aim is to instil pride in themselves, their ancestors, their family and country, as well as to strengthen their position, cultural and language identity in united Europe. The accompanying aim is to improve the family relationships, mainly between children, parents and grandparents, to intensify the extent of mutual tolerance , to start a new tradition of building family archives and chronicles, to find  links between “great history“ and history of each individual and last but not least, to find out as many facts as possible about the history of their own family, what it was influenced by, and what formed it.


Subject of the project:

The project is mainly aimed at pupils and students of primary and secondary schools, but also older family members – parents, grandparents or great grandparents - are welcome to join it.


Content of the project:

In terms of the project the students will create their own family history. They will collect information and material  from past to recent history of their closest relations and ancestors. They will go to register offices and archives, talk to their parents, grandparents and other family members and record the gathered facts. They will make their family tree. They will write down their parents´ and grandparents´ memories of their childhood, they will look for interesting stories from their lives and the lives of other family members. They will also investigate how the global history influenced the life of their family and how their family members influenced the global history. They will look for the truth about their family, e.g. how their family name developed in the course of history, the origin of the family name, and how it was changed and influenced by history. They will look for famous personalities in their families, such as inventors, writers, award winners, why  and how they became famous and what they did for their family and their country.

They may make a list of jobs occurring in the family, and the connection of the family and the town or village they lived and worked in. They might monitor the family health matters , which diseases the members of the family had problems with, and what is the genetic code of the family. They will collect photographs, postcards, documents, films, videos, things used in everyday life, and pieces of art in their households. They may look for the oldest objects owned by their family, what languages their ancestors spoke, how far they travelled, where they worked, and what coats of arms they had. They will search for family members at home and abroad, for their address, and their fates. They may write family archives and chronicles. Thus they will help refresh the family history, and write the family sagas.

Students can use the suggested plan while working on their family history. They can take all the points of the plan or pay attention only to the points in which they  will be able to collect information. Of course, the more points they use, the more complex the information will be. The plan is open to the students´ own suggestions of topics.

Specialists claim that each country is inhabited by ancestors of several thousands of families. Their history is usually fairly unknown as historians study only the most famous families. It is important to know the history of the rest as well. The history of nations and countries is the history of towns and villages. The history of towns and villages is the history of families and individuals. Individuals create their own history as well as history of their mother land. If we want to know our future, it is first necessary to know our past. Without a proud history there is no beautiful future. The project work should  help students start thinking about their way to their success after learning the way leading to the achieved success in their families and homeland.


Massmedia partners of the project:

-       Slovenka  (weekly magazine)                

-       Slovak Radio

-       Slovak TV

-       Markíza TV

-       Učiteľské noviny (weekly newspaper)

-       Národná obroda (daily newspaper)

-       Technológia vzdelávania (monthly magazine)

-       Fifik (pupils´ monthly magazine)

-       Genealogicko-heraldicky hlas (


Consultants and the Internet assistance:

-       PhDr. Dušan Škvarna, PhD.                     02/59244426            

-       PhDr. Dušan Čaplovič, DrSc.                   0904/627672

-       Mgr. Milan Šišmiš                                    043/4131371-2

-       Mgr. Zdenko Ďuriška                               043/4131371-2

-       PhDr. Ivan Mrva CSs.                              02/54775665

-       PhDr. Ľubomír Pajtinka                            0904/700570

-       PaedDr. Viliam Kratochvíl, PhD.  0903/663310

-    Mgr. Pavol Kravec                         0905/726640



Organization of the project:

The authors and organisers announced the project during the event Pedagogic Forum – returns2001. This project is part of permanent activities of the Pedagogic Forum. In the school year 2005-2006 it starts its fourth year. It takes up the best experiences of teachers and students from previous years. It has been expanded and enriched with new elements, especially concerning evaluation and rewarding both students and teachers.

Organisers from schools will be provided with advice, if necessary. The project and its realization will be  monitored by the organizer of the event. Exhibitions, conferences and seminars will be held at schools per se or at museums and cultural and educational centres.

At the end of 2004-2004 school year each participating school will propose one student to be awarded a prize for the best  compiled family history. A selection board will evaluate the best projects and choose the winner of the year for all of   Slovakia.

After the Pedagogic Forum 2004 the best and most successful family sagas from previous years will be exhibited. A special seminar will be held for the students and teachers who will have participated in the project. Realisation of the project is conditioned by freedom and creativity of students and teachers. No strict rules will be published.

The project will be repeatedly announced and sent to schools and cultural and educational centres in the beginning of school year 2005-2006. Schools, students and teachers willing to take part in the 4th year must register anew, i.e. fill in and send the application form enclosed to the project. Schools that did not take part in previous years may join the project as well.

The only duty of the participating school is to register with the organiser, help with promotion, communicate with the organisers, report the number of participating students, and evaluate the best project at the school and send it to the organisers.


Main organisers of the project:

Civic Association ALFA

Drobného 27

841 01  Bratislava


Methodical and pedagogic centre

Tomášikova ul. 4

820 09   Bratislava


Civic association   Marcus Aurelius

Bernolákova 7

902 01  Pezinok


Deadline for sending the application forms of classes and schools: sept.-nov.2004.

Later applications will be accepted.

Application forms should be sent to:

Ľubomír Pajtinka

Metodicko-pedagogické centrum

Tomášikova 4

820 09  Bratislava

or e-mail:


Schedule of the project:

  1. Announcement  of  the  project and  releasing  information  about  it

Deadline: Sept.-Nov.2006

I/c: MC, CA MA, CA ALFA,  RSA Bratislava, other RSA, culture and educational institutions, mass media partners, school authorities, schools, libraries

  1. Registration of  schools and classes with the project:

Deadline: Sept.-Nov.2006 (later registration possible)

I/c: directors of schools and school institutions, entrusted teachers

  1. Students´ work on the project (pupils of the 2nd stage of the basic school and students of secondary schools):

Deadline: Sept.2005-May 2006

I/c: directors of schools and school institutions and entrusted teachers

  1. Continuous evaluation of the project and awarding the best projects and collections

Deadline: end of school year 2005-2006

I/c: facilitators of the project

  1. Final evaluation and rewarding of the best and other selected students and teachers

               Deadline: June 2006

               I/c: facilitators of the project

  1. Continuous information about interesting results

Deadline: continuously

I/c: mass media partners

  1. Exhibition of the best projects and collections after Pedagogic Forum

Deadline: autumn 2006

I/c: facilitators of the project


  • Registration form for participants of the project “Know your past”
  • Open plan of the project




  1. Who am I? ( literary composition – biography and photo).
  2. Who are my closest family members? ( biographies of the parents, siblings, grandparents, great grandparents, other close people, photos).
  3. Where do I live? ( description of the village, town, region, its peculiarities, photographs, drawings, history).
  4. My family tree.
  5. Stories from our family life (stories from family members´ lives, memories of the family members, family customs, tape recordings of the living family members, videos and films about family members).
  6. The most important personalities in our family (their fates).
  7. Important contemporaries of my grandparents, great grandparents… (Try to create and write a dialogue between one of your ancestors and his important contemporary – inventor, writer,  politician…).
  8. Jobs in our family (description of the family members´ jobs, past or present, their significant achievements, awards).
  9. Medals and prizes in our family (who got them, the reason, who was mentioned in the newspapers, on the radio or TV).
  10. Our family and the mass media (who published in the newspapers, on the radio or TV).
  11. My family members and the hobbies they excelled at (work in music ensembles, theatre, writing, gardening, motoring…).
  12. Legends in our family.
  13. What languages my family members speak/spoke.
  14. My family abroad (my family members and the countries they live in, their jobs, addresses, photographs).
  15. Travellers in my family (places my family members travelled to, what they did there, their experiences, interesting stories).
  16. Means of transport my family members travelled by in the past (from the place they lived in to their work, abroad etc.).
  17. Family archive (documentation of the family photographs – who is in them, when and where they were taken, documentation of the family writings – diaries, letters, personal production, birth certificates, other documents).
  18. Graves of the family members – how the family members died, where they are buried, photographs of the graves, interesting epitaphs…
  19. Names and surnames in my family. History of my surname.  Evolution of my surname in the past, its origin, historic events that influenced it.
  20. The oldest item in my household (collection of old objects after my ancestors – mugs, watches, vases…). The first historic mention of my ancestors.
  21. How my ancestors lived, their flats/houses. My idea of my future house.
  22. Art objects in my family (furniture, paintings…).
  23. Songs, customs and traditions in my family (special holiday menu, customs, what we do and how we do it).
  24. Tales and legends I was told by my parents, grand parents or other relatives. Who and what has influenced my life most.
  25. Collections in my family (stamps, coins, autographs…), their authors, interesting stories connected with their creation.
  26. Books in my family (the oldest book in our bookcase, authors of our books).
  27. Our family coat of arms. (In case there is none, my idea of my family coat of arms – a drawing).
  28. Education and practice in my family (parents, grand parents, great grandparents), where and what they studied, their achievements.
  29. Sports and relaxation in my family.
  30. My role model (who, why I respect him/her, what I would like to resemble him in).
  31. My future, the future of my family. What I would like to be, achieve, what I am willing to do to achieve my goal.


Suggestions for further activities:

  • In your home make a “grandparents´ corner” (exhibit their photographs, souvenirs, grandfather´s watch, favourite book…)
  • Organize an exhibition at school – “Money our parents, grandparents paid with”
  • Organize a “Grandparents´ party” – participants will wear clothes like their grandparents used to wear, listen to the type of music they used to listen to, serve refreshment they used to serve at parties...
  • Organize a trip “Taking the path of our grandparents”
  • Organize a trip “Where our grandparents dated”
  • Organize an afternoon of your grandparents´ games (play games your grandparents used to)
  • Organize a sports competition (old sports of your grandparents)
  • Decorate your classroom with objects belonging to the 50´s of the 20th century
  • Organize an exhibition of family photographs from the 20th century
  • Organize a party with your grandparents (meet some of your grandparents and talk to them about their life 50-60 years ago)
  • In your class collect stories from your great grandparents´ lives
  • Write a story from the life of your family or one of your ancestors
  • Compose musical work inspired by a family event
  • Write a novel, story or drama about the past or present life of your family
  • Write a scenario, make a film or a video about an interesting event in   the life of your family