Who are we? Who were our parents and grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. and which “Old Country” were they from? How, when and why did they come to America? In this time of year, we also yearn for those historic ethnic foods and activities of our past. Our genealogy is a large part of our heritage, and we need to know who we came from to have a more complete sense of self.
Today, everything seems to move so fast. In this age of computers we can research our family heritage by use of scientific tools and the internet. I had my DNA tested by Ancestry.com, and received a report that said I had a 97 percent correlation with ancestors from Norway and Sweden. I already knew that but what is really remarkable is that my report also named a possible second cousin I was not aware of, whose grandmother was from the same town in Norway as my grandmother. I have also recently discovered my grandfather’s ancestors back to 1590, nine generations ago, who all lived in a small farming area near Gjovik, Norway. For a kid who grew up in northern Minnesota to finally be able to connect the dots to my past is truly amazing. You can probably do the same.
The Great Falls Historical Society has invited Elaine McRey, the Senior Genealogy Librarian at the Virginia Room of the Fairfax Regional Library for our next public meeting. McRey has been interested in genealogy since her grandmother told her that when the Mayflower landed, her ancestors were waiting on shore to welcome them. But now she knows the first rule of genealogy – don't believe everything you hear about your own family history, even if your grandmother tells you it's true.
McRey has been working in public libraries since 1990 and earned her library degree in 1999. After a short stint working near Colonial Williamsburg and watching a certain Thomas Jefferson come in every day to use the Internet, she joined the staff at the City of Fairfax Regional Library. She's been a librarian in the Virginia Room since 2008. She spends more time helping others with their genealogy than working on her own, but luckily, she's not the only genealogist in the family. It must be hereditary.
McRey will be at the Great Falls Library meeting room from 7-9 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2018 to teach members and visitors how to use the tools available on the internet to research their family trees. This is open to the public and all are welcome. Come early because of the interest, to be assured of a seat.