Is there a mystery in your history?

Free day-long genealogy workshop in Virden can help solve it

Are you intrigued by stories and people of the past?

Is there a character in your family history you want to know more about?

article continues below

Or maybe you’d just like to trace your family tree?

A free genealogy workshop is coming to Virden’s Border Regional Library on Saturday, May 4 courtesy of the Manitoba Genealogical Society Southwest Branch out of Brandon. It’s a day long course in basic genealogy for those just getting started in the pastime.

Sheila Shearer is one of the presenters guiding the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. workshop. The morning will be dedicated to learning how to write memoirs and the afternoon will teach the basics of genealogy research and record keeping.

But what does writing have to do with genealogy?

Shearer says, “In theory, we record our own memories to leave to our children.… Many of us want to record what we find and put it into a form so that the next generation will have a record of their family history.”

Genealogists, beginner or advanced, benefit from having the writing skills to share and give value to their research findings. The morning session will include writing exercises that stir up memories and inspire stories.

Other tools that can help budding genealogists include old photographs, documents, wedding invitations, family history books – anything that can provide names, dates or locations to kick start your search.

Then, Shearer says, it’s time to dig deeper.

“We recommend people look in community history books (such as The Virden Story by Ida Clingan), directories, obituaries, newspaper clippings, cemeteries, and provincial archives. Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency has their database online for searching.”

And, of course, your living relatives can be a rich source of connections to your roots.

While most genealogy buffs at her workshops tend to be 45+, Shearer says, “We encourage people to do it earlier in life because we all regret we didn’t ask our parents and grandparents more questions. And they have many stories and pictures to share.”

Sign up for the May 4 free workshop by calling the Virden library. Shearer says participants can bring a laptop or mobile device if they want, or “Just come with questions, maybe we can help.”

© Virden Empire-Advance