YARMOUTH - It was last year’s birthday party for Shirley the elephant that gave Lisette Gaudet, archivist at Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, the idea for an online genealogy workshop series.
During the birthday celebrations at the Tennessee sanctuary, guests at the museum participated online with keepers answering their questions. The 70-year-old pachyderm was a survivor of the 1963 circus ship fire in Yarmouth.
Gaudet explored the possibility of holding a webinar series connected with the growing popularity of genealogy and prepared the five-part workshops.
“Nobody wants to go out in the wintertime but you’re looking for stuff to do,” said Gaudet.
“We thought this could be a neat thing. You just fire up your computer and away you go.”
The museum purchased several months of service for the platform that supports the webinar feature. Those who register for the workshop will be sent a link and password to participate.
“All you need is a computer with speakers, email address and Internet connection,” said Gaudet.
“It’s not necessary to download or install a program. If a participant misses a session, all of them are being recorded for convenient review.
The series begins Jan. 23 and will be held Wednesday evenings at 6:30.
The first workshop will be on the cursive writing used decades ago.
“It’s starting to be something that people are losing, especially the younger generation – they’re not teaching it in the schools,” said Gaudet.
“The older cursive writing can be quite difficult to decipher.”
This video explains some aspects of genealogy.
For the second session, Bill Curry, who has extensive experience in research, will provide tips on what’s he’s learned,
He will also discuss DNA testing and kits.
Gaudet says people can type out their questions during each session and interact with instructors online.
The third workshop will deal with finding early records that date back to the 14th or 15th centuries and may involve European descent.
The fourth session will provide information on how to research cultural groups, including the Mi’kmaq and Acadians.
“Sometimes it can be difficult. For example, with the Mi’kmaq we don’t have a lot of documents or vital statistics. We’re going to delve into where you can find that information,” said Gaudet.
The final workshop – Research 101 – supplies tips on how to do research, including how to best use your time while researching.
“I’m sure every genealogist has fallen down the hole of just trying to get all the research done, but all of a sudden you’re six hours in and you haven’t found anything.
“This session shows you how to be efficient on finding information and how to index it so you get as much bang for your buck for research time,” said Gaudet.
How to sign up
The cost for each session is $15 or all five for $60. Payment is due by Jan. 22.
You can register by phone using credit card 902-742-5539 or by email