December 13 2006

Press Release: WCHS Family History Detectives Plan Series

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick

Gloria McCullough, Wayne County Historical Society Research Librarian (left) reminds Ken Parks and Hank Loftus that there is a better way to unearth their families' history. Techniques that really work will be discussed at the society's upcoming series on basic genealogy.

The Wayne County Genealogy Group has met monthly for ten years at the Wayne County Historical Society. Beginners and experienced researchers work together to learn the techniques and solve the problems of genealogy research. In January 2007, the group will begin a series of programs designed to get new genealogists off on the right foot. Anyone with an interest in researching family history will benefit from these programs, but beginners are especially welcome. The four-month series has been dubbed (tongue in cheek of course) “ Wayne County” and will explore the basic techniques of genealogical research and innovative methods in the nascent field of forensic genealogy, using the terminology of detectives on the trail of an elusive criminal.

Beginning at the regular Genealogy Group meeting on Thursday, January 25, avid researcher Hank Loftus (Curator of the Dorflinger Museum) will chair a discussion entitled “What’s Your M. O.?” Hank and the group will explore motives for embarking on a family history quest, how to find clues and how to make the most of them. On Thursday, February 22, Gloria McCullough, Wayne County Historical Society Research Librarian, will discuss how to line up “The Usual Suspects,” including an All Points Bulletin for those elusive aunts, uncles and cousins, and begin the “interrogation” process – to get the facts and nothing but the facts. Once the information has been gathered, it’s time to “Evaluate the Evidence,” and Ken Parks, well-known actor/singer and dedicated genealogist, will open the case file on Thursday, March 22. The discussion will center on how to judge the reliability of the evidence gathered, and since it really is all in the blood, Ken will offer some valuable insight into the use of DNA in genealogy.

These are the regularly scheduled meetings of the Genealogy Group and take place at 30 pm in the Research Library of the Wayne County Historical Society on the dates indicated. Admission is free and the public is invited.

On Wednesday, April 25, the group will sponsor the appearance of Colleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., author of Forensic Genealogy and DNA and Genealogy (with Andrew Yeiser). Dr. Fitzpatrick is a skilled genealogist, but also an expert in optical laser measurement techniques. She has developed innovative technologies for NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. Using her many years of experience, in her newest book, Forensic Genealogy, she focuses on three important resources in genealogical photographs, databases and DNA analysis. Colleen Fitzpatrick will share her amazing techniques for tracing your family tree on Wednesday, April 25 at 6 pm at the Blough Building of the Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary at White Mills. The public is welcome but reservations are required. Admission is $3 for members of WCHS or Dorflinger and $5 for non-members. For more information on this program and the Wayne County Genealogy Group, contact Gloria McCullough at 570-253-3240 or