Arriving in the New World: How Our Immigrant Ancestors Coped in their New Home
Using group exercises and discussion, this presentation introduces attendees to the difficulties people have when trying to learn a new culture. Drawing on the research of noted scholars in the field of Intercultural Communication, this workshop applies their theories to experiences attendees have had and relates them to the experiences early immigrants probably had. Hopefully, the result will be an understanding of the acculturation process. Participants need no prior genealogical experience.
Cut & Paste: Lexicons of Lost Lifestyles AKA Words & Phrases of Bygone Days
What did words we use today mean to our ancestors? How did language shape their reality? How important is it to know the nicknames our ancestors used? These and other questions will be addressed in this program. As time allows, an etymology activity will be employed to help folks get a true sense of the fluid nature of language. For best success, this workshop needs to be held in a room with moveable chairs so people can visit with one another.
Family Traditions: Cultural Guidelines for Life
Your ancestors culture(s) helped to shape their lives and lead to your personal approach to a number of things: holidays, religion, work, entertainment, and more. In a discussion/lecture format, this program will help the participants bring back to mind some of the elements of their early lives growing up and/or their forebears’ experiences. Attendees should plan to be actively involved in the discussion by being asked in advance to think of some of the family stories and traditions they learned about and/or experienced.
Making the Dead Live Again: The Value of Family Folklore
Scholars claim that we are all storytellers. This participatory workshop begins with some basic theory on this claim, then involves the attendees by asking for examples. Participants share the stories from their family histories, showing how families are drawn together and/or torn apart by the stories that are passed along from generation to generation. By understanding the stories of our ancestors, we can often understand the behaviors, motivations, values, etc. of those who raised us and, sometimes, even ourselves. This workshop is most appropriate for groups of under 40 members in attendance (it can be difficult with larger groups as it is hard for all to hear; however, there are ways to adapt it, if necessary – just be certain to clarify group size in advance).
Mob Action: Working as a Group to Tear Down Brick Walls
This program focuses on using techniques for group interaction and task management that societies and families can use to work together in order to solve genealogical problems. Small group methods of brainstorming and problem solving will be explored and put to the test on actual family history research issues. Attendees should gain some insight in how working with others can help them to solve the puzzles that plague society members. People will also receive suggestions on how societies and families can plan meetings that will apply the lessons taught here. If there are more than a dozen participants attending, people will be divided into small groups for the application portion: it is recommended that an estimated “head count” be provided a few days before this workshop is presented.
Say What? How did Your Ancestor Pronounce those Names?
Do you know how your ancestor pronounced his/her name? How about the name of the hometown? This is the topic of this workshop. Examples will be provided, giving hints of how we might determine the pronounciations our ancestors used, and participants will be encouraged to share some examples from their own families and/or research. It promises to be a workshop with both education and humor.
Tattle Tale! Ethical Dilemmas Faced by Genealogists
Whether you are the family historian, a hobby genealogist, or a professional who researches for clients, there are times when the question arises: “How much of the ‘truth’ do I tell the family?” This program looks at the fine line that divides what should and should not be shared, with whom, and how. Based on over 20 years in the field of Speech Communication, including the study of ethics in interpersonal relationships, I will present ethical dilemmas for discussion among the group members.
Understanding Gothic German by Learning to Write it
If you are one of the many, many folks who have traced your ancestry to Germany, you already know how difficult it can be to decipher the odd handwriting of centuries past. One of the best ways to learn to read it is to learn to write it. This workshop gives hands on opportunities to practice the letter writing of the Kurrent style of cursive (what has become known as “Gothic German”). Discover the hidden treasures in your ancestor’s records when you understand how the letters were formed and what they said.
ALLOW A MINIMUM OF 90 MINUTES FOR POWERPOINT LECTURE AND STUDENT PRACTICE. HANDOUT/WORKBOOK INCLUDES AN ADDITIONAL COST (10 pages; may be copied by booking organization). WHITE-BOARD or BLACK-BOARD REQUIRED (please advise if unable to provide this tool).
What’s in it for Me? Reasons for Researching Family History
Many of us who spend as many waking hours as possible researching our family histories are used to being asked about the fascination of names, dates, and places of people long dead. How do you answer that inquiry? This program/discussion will address this issue – how to respond to those who don’t understand the value of genealogy or the motivating forces that drive us to find just one more piece of the puzzle; it also can assist those who believe they should engage in genealogical research but have not found the motivation as yet. Audience participation is encouraged.
Why/How to Become a Professional Genealogist
A discussion-based program for groups whose members would like to move ahead
in the genealogy world and become professional. This term can include taking clients, doing heir research, hiring out to pull documents or take photographs, translating documents, giving presentations to societies (genealogical and others), or simply taking a step beyond the concept of doing it for oneself and family only.