Explore Your Family Tree at the Pratt Library

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By Claire Wang, Social Science and History Department Librarian

Who do we think we are? Whether we’re experienced researchers or are just starting out, this is an exciting time to be involved in genealogy. With the advent of new and improved DNA testing options, television programs that explore the ancestral lineage of prominent celebrities, and technologies that unite family history enthusiasts of all skill levels from all over the world, people are finding a number of opportunities to learn about the resources and records that may ultimately connect them to their ancestral past.

Genealogy imageThis is also an exciting time for us as librarians. The surge of interest in family research not only gives us the opportunity to connect customers with resources such as Federal Census and city directories, but also to host guest speakers and provide workshops on various genealogy-related topics. It is truly rewarding to help a customer locate their ancestor in the Census for the first time, or to see the spark of enthusiasm and wonder in someone’s eyes when we place a roster of Maryland Civil War veterans in their hands.

For the past year, the Pratt Library has offered several family history activities through the Genealogy Circle. We are a group of librarians and customers who meet on Saturdays roughly four times a year to learn about various aspects of genealogy and genealogy research. Presentations have been given by Pratt staff and librarians, guest speakers from around the state, and also our customers who have a research interest or specialty that they’ve shared with the group. Topics have included Federal Census Records, document and photo preservation, and genetic genealogy/DNA testing. We also held a brick wall session last year, where we addressed difficult research questions or obstacles in a collaborative setting. The presentations, like the group itself, are open to the public.

census record imageWe have a great lineup of guest speakers and topics for the remainder of 2014. Our Saturday, June 7th meeting will feature another Brick Wall Session. If you have a topic or specific question you’d like to discuss with fellow customers and our panel, please send an email to slrcgen@prattlibrary.org. On Saturday, August 23rd, Mary Mannix, manager of the Maryland Room at the C. Burr Artz Public Library in Frederick, will give a presentation on Maryland genealogical resources and institutions.  Jane Thursby, the Vice President of the Frederick County Genealogical Society, will present a workshop on researching church records on October 4th.

Our meetings are held at 10:30 a.m. at the Pratt’s Central Library location. As mentioned, all are welcome to attend. If you would like to be added to our mailing, list, please email us at slrcgen@prattlibrary.org.


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