Share a story from your personal family history. What lessons have you learned from that story, and how can you apply those lessons to your life today?
All entries must be submitted through the online portal by March 1, 2024. Winners will be announced in May 2024.
Eligible Participants: All public, private, parochial, and home school students enrolled in grades 4-12 in any U.S. state or territory.
Only one entry per student is allowed.
All entries must be the original work of an individual student. Entries must not have been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Artificial intelligence tools cannot be used.
Entries which were written as an assigned school project are eligible for submission, but must fulfill all contest requirements.
Each winner and semifinalist will also receive a one-year student membership to American Ancestors.
Word Count (approximate)
Grades 4-6: 500 words
Grades 7-8: 750 words
Grades 9-12: 1,000 words
Number all pages
12 pt Times New Roman
1-inch margins left and right, top and bottom
Submission file must be a PDF
Criteria for Judging
Students will not be judged on the specific details of their family history. Essays will be judged based on the following criteria.
Essay Content (60%)
Describe your research process, including who you spoke to, where you searched, what sources you used, and what you discovered.
Use evidence from your research to support your claims and conclusions.
Write an original and unique essay with your own ideas and interpretations.
Make meaningful connections between the past and your own life. Share what you have learned and how it has impacted you.
Quality of Writing (40%)
Write a clear and concise essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Proofread your essay to catch any errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Meet all formatting requirements.