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Tracking Your Roots

Nationally known genealogist Crow to speak at Madison ‘Genealogy Day’

Event is presented by the Genealogy Society and D.A.R.


(October 2016) – Ge*ne*al*o*gy – noun – a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.
In the 1970s, the nation was inspired to discover its ancestral line by the book and later the movie “Roots,” by Alex Haley. Since that time, genealogy has become a booming business, offering history seekers the chance to click a leaf or send in a DNA sample to learn more about their roots.

Amy Johnson Crow

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, Madison, Ind., area residents will have an opportunity to meet with members of the Jefferson County Genea-logical Society to learn about research techniques and hear from Amy Johnson Crow, a nationally renowned genealogist, during the second annual Genealogy Day.
Organized by the Jefferson County Genealogy Society and the John Paul Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the workshop will allow people interested in investigating their family history an opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with experienced researchers.
Open to the public, the event will be held at the Jefferson County History Center, 615 W. First St. in Madison. The program is free. Those interested in purchasing a $10 catered lunch should R.S.V.P. to jcgs@cinergymetro.net by Oct. 3.
According to Linda Roaks, local chapter president, the Jefferson County Genealogical Soc-iety is dedicated to gaining knowledge, teaching others genealogy and family history, and preserving all types of genealogical records relating to county residents.
A retired schoolteacher from California, Roaks became interested in genealogy when a college friend asked permission to research her family.  She was surprised to learn that she had a tie to Indiana. “One of my ancestors took a raft from New York State to Clinton, Ind., to stake a land claim in the 1800s,” Roaks said. Years later, she dug her friend’s research out of the closet, and her interest in genealogy was sparked.
Crow, of Professional Genealogy Services, shared a similar experience that sparked her interest in researching her family that eventually led to her career. “I was always interested in history and enjoyed spending time listening to my fraternal grandmother share stories of the family.” It was not until she was cleaning out a closet and discovered a funeral memorial card for her maternal grandfather that she realized she knew only half of her family story.
This need to know more led her to spend hours in local libraries, learning from others more experienced in the process. “I needed to discover my connection to history and histories connection to me,” explained Crow.
A Certified Genealogist, her work has been examined by the Board of Certification for Genealogists. As such, she is bound by their code of ethics. Crow regularly speaks at the industry’s top events throughout the year, including the Federation of Genealogical Societies and RootsTech, as well as state and regional events. She previously served as series editor for the National Genealogical Society Guides, published by Rutledge Hill Press and has served on several national and state boards. She holds a bachelor’s of science in history from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from California State. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.
The title of her presentation in Madison, “Research Before 1850,” will provide tips and techniques for breaking through the walls often experienced in genealogical research.
“One of the major resources for tracing family history is the U.S. Censuses. However, before 1850 only the name of the head of the household was listed. All other residents were simply listed by gender and age,” said Crow. 
She said that the further back you go, the fewer records that exist.
“My focus is to provide tips on how to use what does exist and to pull everything possible out of those resources.”
The workshop will begin at 10 a.m. with an opportunity to work with members of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society, ask questions and learn about basic research techniques.  Members of the DAR will be on hand to answer questions about membership.
Crow’s presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will include a question-and-answer session. The afternoon will conclude with additional research time from 12:30-2 p.m.
“We welcome everyone – those currently doing research, those just beginning the process or those simply interested in the topic,” Roaks said.

In addition to sponsoring Genealogy Day, the society awards several scholarships and grants.  Thanks to the George and June Miller Endowment, the society awards scholarship to area high school seniors with plans to attend Hanover College or Ivy Tech Community College. Annual grants are also made to nonprofit organizations conducting programs or projects involving genealogical aspects. Interested organizations can request an application from the society at JCGS@cinergymetro.net. Applications for the 2017 grant cycle are due by 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28.

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