If you’ve ever watched TV episodes of “Finding Your Roots,” or “Genealogy Road Show,” you’ve probably fancied yourself being one of the lucky ones who learn about their family tree on the program.
Research basics used on those television programs are the same as for anyone. Begin with yourself (the known) and work back to the unknown. Document every step along the way.
I’ll get you started in a free workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 30 at Catawba County Library Auditorium. You don’t need to register; just show up with note-taking materials and curiosity. The session is sponsored by the John Hoyle Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Catawba Valley Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution.
The 90-minute session will include my PowerPoint presentation, free handouts and a question-and-answer period.
Or even if you don’t care to join a society, but would like to get started on your family history, this workshop will help you get started.
I began my own search in earnest some 40 years ago in search of my great-great-great grandfather, George Miller, a name almost as common and difficult to trace as James Jones or John Smith. Years later, I established that although he served in the Virginia Militia, his last known service was desertion which of course disqualified him as a “patriot” for the DAR. He, like many other fellow soldiers in 1777, thought it wiser to go home and plant a crop than to march off to the Northwest Territories to fight the British.
I eventually learned that my George served with my husband’s ancestor, Isaac Bowman, and both of were led by Isaac’s brother, Major Joseph Bowman, the only American officer to die during the Illinois Campaign. Their commanding officer: George Rogers Clark.
Genealogy teaches you just how small the world is—and was.
Over the years, I’ve documented five other Revolutionary War patriots and 26 other ancestors who lived in the American colonies prior to 1701. I’ve written a footnoted book about my Millers of Kentucky and conducted several beginner workshops in genealogy. I’m currently the registrar for my DAR chapter, which means I help women prove direct lineage to an ancestor, male or female, who served the American Cause between 1775 and 1782.
I’m not a professional genealogist, but I have learned from workshops and personal experience and I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you.
All lineage societies require members to document their descent from a particular ancestor—one who served in a military campaign, signed a particular historic document, served in a particular profession, arrived in the United States before a specific date or belongs to a particular ethnic group. In each case, one must document generations, and the research methods used for DAR and SAR, are the same as those used for any other lineage society you can name.
An added bonus: The Rhodes Local History Room at the Catawba County Library will be open so you can begin your search immediately. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.