Want to know whose blood flows through your veins? A free genealogy workshop this weekend at Converse College could give you a few clues.
Dr. Alexia Helsley, a retired historian from the S.C. Department of Archives and History and frequent leader of genealogical training sessions, will lead the workshop which will begin at 10 am in Dalton Auditorium in Converse’s Phifer Science Hall. An emphasis will be placed on helping African Americans working on family history.
Helsley says that tracing one’s family tree can offer many twisting limbs for the researcher. "I remember one researcher who found his ancestor listed as a gambler resident in a Columbia hotel with a lady of the evening in the adjoining room. Many individuals can connect successful with the illegitimate offspring of the kings of England. A number of individuals have alleged to be descended from Francis Marion, who did not leave known heirs. I did have one researcher who claimed to trace his family back to Noah!"
Helsley says that tracing genealogy can be more difficult for black families than white. "Challenges for African American research include, but are not limited to, status before emancipation (slave v. free), names (first and surname), voluntary and involuntary migrations. I will discuss beginning steps, oral history, conservation issues, basic sources for research, using the Internet and data organization."