Friday’s Brown Bag Lunch on genealogy, hosted by Terence Bailey, was a humble introduction, chock-full of both invaluable resources on how to get started and shared stories of experiences too. Panelists from Duke University Libraries — Jacquie Samples, Lesley Looper and Will Sexton — all joined the discussion and provided us with an abundance of useful tools for researching our own legacy.
Genealogy and even more, family history of Black and indigenous people, was purposely lost and/or hidden. Being able to tell your story and to know your identity is critical. That’s why genealogy is so important. With tools like some of the free resources offered to the Duke community, the search to uncover your identity is that much more accessible.
Will Sexton from Libraries shared some of his own research and discoveries into the history of his identity. In addition, OIT’s Alonzo Felder gave a brief presentation on how he helps others in their searches. Alonzo provides genealogy research services and is an expert in the methods of what to look for when searching. One point he made is to think outside of the census records box so-to-speak, and to look to other resources that aren’t typically considered by novice researchers, such as public military records, and even prison records and lynchings.
Alonzo made it clear that there is a distinction between genealogy and family history. As genealogy is a study of distant ancestors, family history is an in-depth study of a family lineage with greater emphasis and clarification of each ancestor’s life story, such as their parents’ full names, place of birth, marriage date and location.
What about you? Have you ever performed a genealogy search? Are you aware of resources made available without charge to the Duke community? In case you’re curious, here are just a few links worth checking out: