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.
This 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.
We 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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.