Monday, August 4, 2014

Genealogy class leads Rec & Ed staff person to famous British leader

Guest Blogger Sally Searls, Lifelong Learning Coordinator and Genealogy student

I admit it -- I'm a casual genealogist. So casual that I probably shouldn't use the word "genealogist."

So when I discovered a letter linking British leader Oliver Cromwell to my 6th great grandfather, Governor of Barbados Daniel Searle, I was ecstatic! The document also provided critical information I've been researching for years, including Searle's wife's name and where they might have lived in England. 

A 1656 portrait of Oliver Cromwell,
"Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of
England, Ireland and Scotlant" painted
by Samuel Cooper.  Source: Wikipedia. 
The first person I wanted to share my find with was Katherine Willson, our Genealogy instructor at Rec & Ed. I took Katherine's Genealogy 101 class in 2012. At the time, I was searching for more information about Daniel Searle. Katherine gave me many ideas on where and how to search. Since then, every once in a while, I would use her "query" tip with his name to see what I could fine. (Did I mention that I'm a very casual investigator.) 

Katherine's response to my discovery was super: "This is FANTASTIC!!!! What a find!!! WOO-HOOOOO!!!! I'm so happy for you!"

This is just what Katherine's classes are like -- supportive, fun and informative. 

I'm not the only participant who feels this way. Here are some comments from other people who've taken her classes:

"Katherine is organized, patient, goes through all the steps many times as long as it takes to understand."

"Excellent -- always answered everyone's questions. Handouts are great and will help when class is over."

"Katherine was so patient with individual students and would help us individually via email."

Not only is Katherine helpful, but students in the classes support each other with ideas and suggestions. I encourage everyone who has an interest in finding out about their ancestors to take Katherine's class. 

If you're inspired to explore more branches of your family tree, take Katherine Willson's Genealogy 101 or 201 this fall. On-line registration for both classes begins August 18.

Genealogy 101 is for the beginner or is a great refresher if you haven't done research in a while. She covers resources such as the census, family charts, cemetery data and national archives. I started doing family research in 1975, then put it away for years, so I was delighted to find out how much is available via the internet and other new resources. Many people take 101 several times just for the support from Katherine and the other students.

As I become more involved in researching my family, I plan to take Genealogy 201. This class focuses on solving road blocks that students have hit in their research and more in-depth resources. I know that Katherine will provide the support and information about resources that I need. 

And if any of you have information about Governor Daniel Searle, or are a Searle, Searles, or Searls, contact me - we might be related!

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