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By Charlotte Kovalchuk, Hello Georgetown Contributor
Genealogy is about more than just names and dates on a piece of paper. Far from a boring history exercise, tracing your family tree connects generations and provides a new perspective on the sisterhood and brotherhood of humanity.
In October, Family History Month, you can learn how to start your ancestry research journey during Roots Records Research: A Virtual Genealogy Workshop hosted by the Williamson County Genealogical Society and the Georgetown Public Library.
People can register for the following free Zoom sessions on October 16:
- 9 a.m. – Dos and Don’ts of Beginning Genealogy presented by Teresa Devine, Lineage Research Committee chair for the Andrew Carruthers Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
- 10 a.m. – Introduction to DNA presented by Alan Rabe, vice president of the Williamson County Genealogical Society
- 11 a.m. – Caring for Family Artifacts presented by Heather Hamilton, conservator for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
“Some people do crossword puzzles. I find genealogy a lot more worthwhile,” Alan said, describing it as a good intellectual exercise that he’s been working on for the last 50 years. He has discovered that he is related to four Mayflower passengers, 15 Constitution signers and 35 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.
“Does he know?” asked Alan’s amazed granddaughters.
“It’s precious to see them make the connection to a world leader they otherwise wouldn’t have,” he said.
Studies have shown, Alan added, that an indicator of successful children is knowing about their grandparents and great-grandparents and how they failed and overcame challenges. Genealogy also makes history more interesting, as he remembers a time when he didn’t enjoy learning about history until he discovered his great-uncle fought in the Mexican War.
“Once you connect your family to historic events, it becomes interesting,” he said.
Can’t wait until October 16 to start your genealogy journey? You can find ancestors through two free websites, FamilySearch.org and RelativeFinder.org. The Williamson County Genealogical Society also has ongoing meetings to learn about family history research. Upcoming virtual events include:
- 7:30 p.m. September 17: Golden State Killer/DNA, Genealogy and Law Enforcement – Alan will give a brief background on how DNA was used to find the Golden State Killer, followed by a presentation by Blaine Bettinger, author of “Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy.”
- 7 p.m. September 23: Differences in DNA Results between Testing Companies
- 9:30 a.m. September 26: German Genealogy – Alan, who is German, will discuss German research, including basic approaches, immigration history, handwriting, naming issues, translation resources and more.
- 6:30 p.m., October 6: Georgetown Genealogy Chat
- 10 a.m., October 8: Georgetown Genealogy Chat
Learn more at williamsontxgenealogy.org.