Friday, May 28, 2010

Genealogy 101 Beginner's Workshop a Success!

After the PBS television show, Faces of America, and the NBC television show, Who Do You Think You Are?, in the first four months of 2010, many genealogical societies were surprised by a sudden upsurge in interest by people who had not pursued their ancestry or family history before.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society had planned ahead, and was ready to offer a Genealogy 101 -- A Beginner's Workshop during the month of May 2010. There were four two-hour sessions on Tuesday evenings, with former CVGS President, Randy Seaver, as the instructor.

The curriculum included segments on:

Class 1:
* What is Genealogy?
* Step 1 - The Treasure Hunt
* Step 2 - Organize Your Information
* Step 3 - Find Records and Resources
* Step 4 - Share Your Information
* Step 5 - Join Genealogical Societies

Class 2:
* Genealogy Education
* Vital Records
* Census Records
* Effective Online Searches

Class 3:
* Genealogy Software
* Book Resources
* Military Records
* Immigration and Citizenship Records
* Demonstrating Websites in Computer Lab

Class 4:
* The Genealogical Proof Standard
* Online Family Trees
* Newspaper and Directory Records
* Land and Property Records
* Probate and Court Records
* Parting Thoughts

We had 19 attendees in this class - nine were beginning genealogists, five were new CVGS members with little research experience, and five were longer term CVGS members with some research experience. All were enthusiastic to learn about how to pursue genealogical and family history research. Seven of the nine beginners joined CVGS in the past two months. Randy prepared a class syllabus that totalled almost 70 pages to cover the subjects listed above, and used Powerpoint to teach the class, including many examples from his own research.

At the end of the fourth class, we had a graduation ceremony with each attendee receiving a certificate of completion and a name tag with a golden G affixed to mark their course completion. We also had a class photograph taken:

Back row, from the left: Carol Thomas, Janice Nevills, Karyn Slade, Jane Dale, Pauline Johnstone, Anita Harman, Kris Harman, Mary Patterson and Jean Moss (with Kevin Brown in back of Anita and Kris, and instructor Randy Seaver behind Mary).

Front row, from the left: Billie Cosby, Marta Brown, Marian Wertz, Olive Lenane, Neva Bridwell and Nancy Yates.

Unfortunately, Ruth Himan, Kirk Rodriguez and Cheryl Van Cleave were absent when the picture was taken.

CVGS President Gary Brock introduced the classes, helped with the projector, and led the graduation ceremonies. CVGS Member Services Director Ruth Himan helped Randy with class attendance, handing out syllabus materials, setting up the computer lab, and bringing in refreshments (cookies, cupcakes, coffee and water) for each class. Thank you, Gary and Ruth!

We've started a waiting list for the next Genealogy 101 - A Beginner's workshop classes - if you want to be on the list, please contact Randy at

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