25 Mar

My interview with the head of the local historical society went exactly as I expected (she prefers that I don’t use her name). I asked two questions: How did you get started doing your family tree? How would you advise a new genealogist to begin her research?

She was bursting with enthusiasm. A retired teacher, she was really in her element. Not only did she tell me about her own genealogical search, but she began to teach me how to begin. She gave me forms – family group sheets, beginning pedigree charts (a visual representation that you fill out that represents your family tree), and some reading material to take home with me. We plan to meet again next week.

I was also very fortunate to meet two genealogists on twitter and a NJ genealogist who commented on my class blog with an invitation to email her. All were gracious enough to agree to be interviewed. All were willing to allow me to use their real names:

All of these generous people told me how they got started, gave advice on how I could proceed, and one of them gave me a long list of free sites that I can access for information. Most of them, though interested in genealogy at a young age, didn’t become serious about it until adulthood. All offered to stay in touch and answer any other questions that might arise. I plan to use their extensive answers to aid me in my search for my ancestors. If I proceed with this topic for my thesis, then I will reconnect with them and, with their permission, use the information they provided and their identities in that as well.

A large, heartfelt thank you to all.


Posted by on March 25, 2010 in interviewing



3 responses to “Interviews

  1. Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith

    March 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great experience. Genealogists are generous folks! We all knew that already, didn’t we! 😉

  2. dianestopyra

    March 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hey, Mary!

    I am watching this fascinating documentary right now on epi-genetics. Apparently, if one’s ancestors were victims of the potato famine, or the Holocaust, or any traumatic experience, this has an effect on offspring’s epi-genome, the “experience genes,” even generations later. Scientists are thinking that mental health disorders, physical ailments like diabetes, and even autism might be attributed to trauma experienced by ancestors. Just another reason to trace one’s family tree! Fascinating stuff!!

  3. dracmere

    March 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Seems like you have plenty of people to obtain information from for your project. Thats really cool that they are willing to answer further questions after an initial interview. I’m sure your family’s genealogy would make an interesting thesis. Good luck with your search.


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