PLATTSBURGH — “Tracing Your Ancestry” with workshops offered Tuesday and Wednesday at SUNY Plattsburgh, will jump start any quest for the ones who came before.
As well, a Sharing Session is set for Wednesay, Nov. 20.
Workshop presenters are Carolina De la Rosa, a graduate intern in the college’s Global Education Office, and Mike Burgess, Special Collections associate.
“It’s in light of International Education Week, which the Global Education Office is coordinating and mainly sponsoring,” De la Rosa said.
“We’re collaborating with Special Collections and the Feinberg Library because our initial thought was we wanted to engage parts of the campus community that would not normally be interested in international things or identify themselves with international things perhaps because they haven’t traveled abroad or (don’t) speak another language or are not an international student.
“We thought the U.S. is a country that’s got such a rich, immigrant history, it would be a great way to engage those other students through a workshop and sharing session that would allow them to explore their ancestry and their background and that international part that may still be there.”
BASIC HOW-TO EVENT
Special Collections is a repository of local family histories.
“We’ve got cemetery records here, church records here,” Burgess said. “We have some photographs of some local people, census material, general local histories, county, town, village histories, that type of thing.”
The workshop’s main target audience is students.
“But the community is invited to attend as well,” De la Rosa said.
The workshop is a basic how-to to genealogical research.
“I’ve set up a Lib Guide,” Burgess said. “Basically, I can put it on the screen, and I can go through and show them different steps of how to get started and what to look for, other areas where information may be available.
“It’s harder here for international students for what we have, but I can give them some ideas of what is available out there, so they can take the basics I give them and go forward with it in their own country, their own families or whatnot.”
Now at SUNY Plattsburgh, there are 386 international students from 66 different countries.
“Right now, it’s a pilot project to see how much interest there is,” De la Rosa said. “The library has subscribed to the Ancestry.com website, so we will have that as a great resource for them. Depending on the outcome of it, we will see about continuing it.”
The Internet has slightly decreased traffic in Special Collections.
“But we still get emails and phone calls from people looking for certain things or trying to figure out where something might be in a community,” Burgess said.
“I had someone yesterday trying to find the exact spelling of her family’s name. I don’t know if I found it, but I did find a spelling that I gave to her. We still get quite a few people coming in to do genealogical research and working on it.”
TALK TO FAMILY
Burgess’ top three tips to genealogical research: “Talk to family, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to get names,” he said. “After that, you can start with your more basic information like census-type data.”
His third tip is to have fun.
“It’s frustrating sometimes when you’re doing genealogy,” he said.
De la Rosa looks forward to starting her own ancestral research during the workshops.
Burgess has traced one of his lines back to France.
“It’s my mother’s side through Canada,” he said. “On my father’s side, I’m stuck about 1850. I’m just trying to find the connection so I can go forward with it.”
Email Robin Caudell:firstname.lastname@example.org
Three sessions on Tracing Your Ancestry are coming up, all in the Amnesty Room, Angell College Center, SUNY Plattsburgh. Workshop I is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Workshop II is 2 p.m. Wednesday, and the Sharing Session is 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 20. For more information, email Carolina De la Rosa at email@example.com.