Saturday, April 24, 2010

CVGS "Getting Started" Seminar Summary

We had 25 attendees at the Saturday Seminar on 24 April - including 11 who were not members. Several of them joined CVGS after the seminar. The purpose of this seminar was to provide some basic information to interested persons who might be curious about genealogy research after the Who Do You Think You Are? television series.

CVGS President Gary Brock welcomed the crowd at 2 p.m., and briefly described the contents of the welcome packet (which included the April flyer, the May Genealogy 101 class, the newsletter front page, and the membership application).

After a short refreshment break, Ruth Himan introduced the speaker, CVGS member Susi Pentico, to talk on "Getting Started - Finding Who You Are."

Susi introduced the "Family Laundry Basket" concept of finding those family history items we all have in our homes - the pictures, artifacts, crafts, tools, etc. - and noted that we can start our genealogy research by not going outside of our homes - fill up your laundry basket with those items and understand their significance to your family history. She noted that genealogy is fun and educational, often needs to be done for medical history reasons, and is a way to tie family generations together because they have a common bond.

We were encouraged to listen to our head and our heart about the past - what do I have in my family laundry basket, when and where did I obtain it, and what stories are attached to it? For example, Susi passed around two family cookbooks that she has used for years. Several pieces of furniture - a bookcase with books and pictures on it, a spinning wheel, and a rocking chair -- along with homemade quilts, blankets and clothes, were also brought from homes as examples.

Susi showed many of her family photographs during the talk, talked about family legends and memories, and advised us to start with ourselves on a pedigree chart - then fill in parents, grandparents, etc. as best we can. She showed several helpful charts that can be used in research, and mentioned the importance of maps, vital records, newspapers and cemetery records. We were encouraged to share our research challenges and successes, and to help each other in our research efforts.

Susi's presentation handout included Family History Research Tips, Seven Commandments of correspondence, FREE Websites to Search, Oral History Interview Record, a Research Checklist, and a blank USA Map.

Following Susi's talk, the attendees were encouraged to enjoy the refreshments and to pick up more handouts from the forms table, the library table and the research table where CVGS members could provide assistance and advice. Most of the non-members stayed and talked to the CVGS members about their families and their genealogy, and expressed an interest in starting their family research.

In summary, this was an entertaining and informative presentation that helped CVGS attract community people who might attend the Genealogy 101 Beginners Workshop and become members.

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