Researching Family History
The Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia (GRIVA) and the Virginia Historical Society are teaming up to offer a class on family history! GRIVA member Emily Rusk, who is teaching the class, describes the excitement of doing family history:
A murderer lived in that house, a house forever cursed by scandal. As ensuing generations told family tales, the murder was discussed only in hushed tones, “We don’t remember that.” Of course, the murder was the scandal. Or was it? The murder victim was a newspaper editor who published disparaging remarks about the accused man’s sister. Although not specific, the “fatal article” suggested the young woman’s virtue had been compromised. Maybe it was her behavior that was scandalous. What really happened? A little detective work soon put the family tales in perspective. A newspaper editor was murdered, but that young man, who was tried for the crime and acquitted, went on to a successful career. His sister married and gave birth to her first child in a most respectable length of time. Their father was forced into bankruptcy, but that was because of reverses in his business dealings. And mother was listed in the city’s Blue Book of Social Elite for years to come. So what was the family scandal? Did the family even know they were living a scandal, or did the story become more dramatic with every telling, as many family stories do?
Every family has its stories handed down from generation to generation. Grandpa was a war hero. Grandma’s family was descended from royalty but lost it all when they came to the colonies. Great Aunt Aggy will always remember your mother’s birth because it happened during the blizzard of 1890. There is always an element of truth to these stories, but that element is sometimes well hidden. Your challenge is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Are you ready to climb your family tree?
The Virginia Historical Society and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia are offering a six-week series of classes for beginning family historians. Learn how to find published family material, how to get the most out of census records, how to locate vital records, and what can be used as substitutes. Military records, manuscripts, and many more records, both online and off, will further expand your family history. Learn how to evaluate and cite sources and how to find fellow researchers. The classes will conclude with a backstairs tour of the VHS’s library and archives. A bonus day will be scheduled to explore the resources of the LDS Family History Center on Monument Avenue.
GRIVA members Brent Morgan and Emily Rusk, both long-time researchers and frequent program presenters, will lead the classes. Register online at GRIVA.org or call Emily at 804.744.6492.
See you in class!