Friday, March 5, 2010

Genealogy Discussion Group at Osan Air Base

When I arrived here, I lamented the loss of genealogical sympathizers. 

For me, they were the volunteers at the FHL in Dover, where I would spend pleasant Saturday mornings in the half-darkened room, cranking through microfilm.

After our household goods arrived here, I went through the genealogy magazines I save.  When one arrives, I read it, use post-its to mark pages that require further exploration, place it on or near my computer, explore the links or other information that is of interest, then put the magazine in the rack:

Ok, so isn't a magazine rack.  It's a cranberry scoop.  Probably one of the reproductions you can buy at Cape Cod or something, and made specifically to display as a nifty little magazine rack.  Been in the family for as long as I can remember.  I bet Grandma bought it in the early 1970's, not long before I was born.

Anyhow, the point is this: I go back and re-read the magazine in a few months.  If it has information I definitely want to be able to refer back to, it goes into a box:

(This was before I opted to received The Register electronically.)

If I think I am done with the magazine, I would pass it on to the FHL in Dover.  Now it goes to the book swap shelf at the library at Osan Air Base.

Since I go to the library here almost every Saturday morning, I look at the book swap shelf.  The magazines have been going.

That put a thought in my mind: "Somewhere out there, I am not the only genealogist living on Osan Air Base."

There might be another Mayflower descendant, another person with New England connections, or somebody from a completely different part of the country with an interesting heritage of which I could never conceive in my own lineage (southerners?  Mid-westerners?  Californians?).  S/he/they might be experienced genealogists, like me, or aspire to start researching their family history.

And, I hoped, they might like some company.

So the idea for the Genealogical Discussion Group was born. 

I contacted the Community Center, found out what they needed from me, and made all the arrangements for a once-a-month afternoon meeting using their space.  Part of the inspiration came from reading the advertisements for the genealogy group back in Dover, which met at the Archives to discuss a different topic every month.

My thinking was that we could get together on the first Saturday of every month after lunch time (I'm open to changing the date or time, or adding another day or time for those who can't make it on Saturdays or at 2 p.m.) for informal, yet guided discussion.

The basic outline for this first meeting is this (and I would love your feedback):

1.  Meet and greet - introduce ourselves and take the time to get to know each other.  Where are we from?  How long have we been researching?  What are our research interests?  What do we love about genealogy?  What is our most frustrating brick wall?  What are our interests in addition to genealogy?  What else would we like to say?

2.  Discuss possible topics - Share my ideas (group research session, group trip to the FHL in Pyongtaek, partnering up with a research buddy who shares your interests, partnering up with somebody who can help you where you are stuck, workshop on basic genealogy and forms, workshop on internet genealogy, workshop on how to use the FHL, etc.).

3.  Ask for input - What does everybody want to see, do or discuss?  Does anyone have something they are particularly experienced or interested in, that they would like to share with the rest of us?  A workshop they would like to teach or a discussion topic they would like to facilitate?

As you can see, I am full of ideas.  Also, I hope that other people are interested in lending their talents and/or leadership skills to the group. 

Oh dear... 

Now I am remembering the last episode of "Faces of America", in which Dr. Gates was told that the genome sequencing can even tell you about your tolerance to caffeine.

I have no tolerance. 

Therefore, I rarely drink coffee.

Yet I requested a cup of coffee from my husband this morning.  (Late night with a son who did not want to go to bed!) 

Are these jitters (and speedy talking/typing) the result of caffeine, nerves, or excitement?  ;)


  1. Wendy - you poor dear, all alone with your genealogy and nobody to "play" with. I too have this problem, not because there aren't others in my area (I'm in Harpers Ferry for goodness sake) but because we have no "group" or "club" I've posted about this on my blog as well oh how I wish my county had a club! I was filled with this same excitement when I thought of the prospect of starting one, but I was met with roadblocks and never got it going. I also posted a question on the blog - what to people do at these meetings??? Anyway, I hope you're met with lots of others who share your interest and I still want to know what happens with your census! -cindy

  2. Wendy, what a wonderful thing you are doing. I can't wait to hear how the first meeting went. I think it should be pretty informal and get to know the people, find out what they want. Our genealogy club, is made up of many oldies, many who don't know much about computers. It is purely a social thing, with guest genealogy speakers, genealogy DVD's and such. Don't be surprised if people don't have suggestions...we can never get any out of our members, you might be the only one with ideas! Hey, teach them about blogs, and good ones to read..a person can learn a lot that way from home. Good luck.