Thursday, February 01, 2007

Invaluable Program in Genealogy & Family History

Are you passionate about genealogy and history? Do you live in the Seattle area? If you don't, perhaps Aunt Sue can offer you a spare room for nine months, or, what about the grandkids? Come one, come all... come any way you can! University of Washington Extension is still offering the Genealogy and Family History Certificate Program. New students can register for Autumn of each year.

I was a graduate of "G&FH" in 2006; it is hands-down the best research training I have ever received. The current instructors, Sarah Thorsen Little, professional genealogist, and Dr. Lorraine McConaghy, historian for the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, are knowledge goddesses when it comes to researching and writing your family history. Sarah helps you sleuth out the family facts; Lorraine teaches you to tease a story out of social history and make it all flow. Who wouldn't want a family history to be more than just dry names and dates? In truth, much of history is subjective; if you weren't there, you can't be sure. A good writer of history can link facts with time and place to frame people's lives in the proper perspective.

Lorraine and Sarah work hard to empower their students. But, this program may not continue into the future unless it is supported and advertised by those of us who know about it. G&FH has an active alumni group, and volunteers are currently figuring out ways to get the message across about this wonderful program of study. Yes, there is tuition, although there are no grades to worry about. And, yes, you will definitely work. This is a learning opportunity, and as with any program of study, it requires effort on the part of the student.

The program covers three quarters: Fall, Winter, and Spring, meeting once a week from October through mid-June. My classmates and I built lasting bonds, and the time just flew by. The Thursday evenings we met on campus for G&FH instruction were the highlight of our week.

At the end of the certificate program the graduate has completed a 15-page assignment, which is either a project in itself, or part of a larger one. In addition, he/she has come away with a hope chest of ideas on how to proceed with continuing research. If this sounds like your cup of tea, take a look at the program's website, and feel free to contact me with any questions.

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