Finding your heritage to get boost with seminar at PCPL

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ever wonder about your heritage? Apparently many do, observing the popularity of the television broadcast program "Who Do You Think You Are"?

During the one-hour program, celebrity guests are coached in learning about their ancestors, often learning more than they had expected possible.

Just as we understand that in reality doctors don't diagnose diseases in the one hour it takes on "House" and crimes are not solved in 60 minutes as on the many crime detection shows of our time, so it is with discovering one's heritage. But one must begin somewhere.

With that in mind, and with the desire to preserve the heritage of the families of Putnam County, the Heritage Preservation Society (HPS) has scheduled a genealogy seminar for Wednesday evening, starting at 6:30 p.m., in the Local History Room of the Putnam County Public Library.

It is the first of several events HPS is presenting to observe Preservation Month.

Three local genealogists will participate in addressing genealogical research.

Diana Brumfield, reference assistant in the Putnam County Library Local History and Genealogy Department, will present information to aid in the use of the library's resources and records for genealogical research.

Margaret Champion of Maggie's Genealogy Service of Greencastle, will discuss the methods and resources available to determine the history of homes and structures.

Marilyn Clearwaters, an active member of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will discuss researching the descendants of Civil War soldiers especially with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War being observed.

The three topics have been selected to acquaint participants in the use of locally available resources as well as other sources of information. Additionally, the intention is to aid those living in an early county home or a home located within in one of the three new Neighborhood Historic Districts with delving into the history of their home and its previous inhabitants.

Thirdly, while the nation is observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, to help those interested in learning more about ancestors who served as soldiers or who memorialized on the Civil War Soldiers Monument located in Greencastle's Forest Hill Cemetery.

All three genealogists participating in the program bring years of personal experience and service to others working on genealogical quests. Each will address the audience on her specific topic and will additionally answer questions participants might have.

Brumfield developed an interest in her ancestry at a young age and was encouraged by a high school government teacher to prepare documents to apply to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Busy with education, jobs and family, years later Brumfield did become a member of the DAR. Working recently on the library's newspaper digitizing project as an assistant in the Local History Room of the Putnam County Public Library, she has found herself entrenched in becoming well versed in Putnam County history.

Champion has done research on her and her husband's ancestry as well as on the ownership of their home. Margaret has served many clients through her genealogy service. In doing so, she has had a variety of experience in helping clients discover their roots

She cautions her clients as she begins working with them, saying: "If you are going to research your ancestry, you have to be willing to take the "bad" along with the "good."

Clearwaters, always a lover of history, first became interested in genealogy while helping her son research his a family tree. After many visits to the Indiana State Library, Clearwaters prepared her papers for DAR membership, eventually serving as a DAR registrar and helping others in the same process. Working in the clerk's and recorder's office and working more recently with abstracting and proofing early Putnam County birth records has added to her knowledge of local history even beyond the five generations of her family buried in the Groveland Cemetery.

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