“Where do I come from?” – “Who are my relatives?”
Learning about ourselves and locating family relations goes beyond mere curiosity. We are the product of our ancestors. Our genes, our heritage, our birthrights all come from the people the preceded us.
Nancy Johnson, President of the Genealogy Society of Sarasota (GSS), was the featured speaker at the LWRWC March General Meeting at LWR Town Hall on Thursday, March 14, 2019. In her fascinating presentation, Nancy shared her unique insight into the “tricks of the trade” with invaluable advice about how to unlock the secrets of our past.
Genealogy and family history have always been of general interest, but they have turned into really hot topics today with the advent of groups like Ancestry.Com and 23 and Me and the internet has made it so much easier to find data. One feels like Sherlock Holmes taking the tiniest clues and combining them to unravel a mystery.
Nancy explained that she loves the fun detective work that is inherent in exploring one’s ancestral tree. Genealogy is addictive, exciting, and very rewarding when the effort reveals a new piece for the jigsaw puzzle. History becomes reality as one learns how the people being researched fit into the grand tapestry of one’s ancestral story.
One compelling reason is the desire to uncover health issues and genetic conditions. Uncovering this type of information can be crucial and even lifesaving.
Another huge factor is a desire to know one’s background and family lore. We want to find ancestors who were great, noble, famous, or failing all those, at least interesting. Not surprisingly most people are not horrified to learn that distant ancestors may have been notorious or infamous because interesting relations are the stuff of fascinating conversations and family stories.
Nancy advised that the best way to get started is to begin with yourself and immediate family. Gather birth, baptismal, confirmation, marriage, and death certificates. Other useful documents include military and education records, land and tax records, wills, deeds, etc. Work backward by generation. It really helps to find the towns and religions of your ancestors.
She also suggested that wherever you put any data on your family tree, always be certain to site the source. There any many resources to help us learn more about how to pursue our ancestral search. Nancy explained that the multi-faceted purposes of the Genealogy Society of Sarasota (GSS), a non-profit genealogical organization that has served the Sarasota area for over 35 years, includes promoting individual and community awareness of genealogy and family history; encouraging original genealogical research and publication of findings, educating members via professional genealogical speakers, seminars, workshops, and providing information about genealogical activities of other organizations.
Nancy also offered to conduct a free workshop for those interested in learning more. GSS meets the 2nd Saturday in May at 10AM at Selby Public Library, Oct. – May. Annual membership is $20 a year. GSS also has a SW FL DNA Group that is offered for free.
A short Business Meeting conducted by 2019 LWRWC President, Kathleen Cleveland, followed the presentation. Kathleen welcomed new members and thanked Diane Wagner & Hospitality for the lovely St. Patrick’s Day decorations and delicious treats.
Joanie Lawrence thanked members for their generous in-kind donations of sheets sets, towels and pillows for SOLVE Maternity Homes. Eileen Buzzard thanked members for donating children’s books for the HOPE’s Children’s Library. She encouraged everyone to attend our upcoming Women’s Club’s Speaker Series Luncheon “Living Your Best Life,” featuring inspirational Author, Lucetta Zaytoun, on May 8, 2019, at the LWR Ranch Golf and Country Club. The event will benefit “The Book Nook Children’s Library” at HOPE Family Services and 100% of the proceeds will go to HOPE.
Monika Templeman thanked the Fashion Show Committee and LWRWC membership for their phenomenal support of Fashion Regatta-Sarasota Style Charity Fundraiser that raised $18,000 for our adopted charities (HOPE, SOLVE & SMART). Another great meeting filled with fun, friendship, community service and a delightful touch of March madness.