At the Glenwood library, digging a little to find your roots


October 24, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PEOPLE SEARCHING for their roots enjoyed learning how to reconstruct their family tree at a program Monday titled "Genealogy: Resources at Your Library."

The seminar at the Glenwood library taught ways that experienced - and inexperienced - genealogists could locate family history using resources at Howard County libraries and on the Internet.

Barbara Cornell of Woodbine led the group, and the more experienced participants shared their know-how with others in the group.

James Kuttler of Ellicott City has been quite successful in his genealogical search. Kuttler said he has found many previously unknown relatives. Indeed, he has more than 8,000 names in his database.

"I've been very lucky," he said. "I have found scores of cousins."

Kuttler credits the Internet for offering so many search options. "It's the fastest-growing hobby," he said of genealogical research. "The computer and the Internet have caused this hobby to grow."

Mary Hopkins has not been as successful as Kuttler. The Scaggsville resident began her search three months ago, but she has run into a snag. Although she has her grandmother's name and birth year, she cannot find her grandmother's birthplace.

"I have no idea how to start," she said.

Cornell offered many suggestions.

"There's no lack of how-tos," Cornell said. She passed around books, magazines and pamphlets that would help Hopkins and others in their research. Some focused on topics such as the roots of German or African-American families; others focused on smaller geographical areas, such as Maryland or Sykesville.

Cornell, who calls herself an "interested amateur," cautions that there may be inaccuracies in the written word. For instance, she said, christening information can be misleading in searching for a birth date because a child could have been christened years after his or her birth. Cornell also cautioned researchers to be skeptical of information on the Internet.

Donald Johnston of Woodbine agreed. "You have to verify it," he said. "It's a start; that's all it is."

He and his wife, Nancy Johnston, are attempting to compile a booklet of ancestral information for their granddaughter, Melissa Staley, 5, of Mount Airy. The Johnstons have researched documents in Frederick County and Carroll County courthouses.

Alvin Hess of Woodbine became interested in genealogical research after a cousin was challenged by his mother to find the family's roots. His cousin said he was able to find ancestors back to Lady Godiva and Eric the Red. Now Hess is searching for his roots on the other side of his family.

He has found more than 200 Internet sites that are of interest in his research. "I like to surf the Internet," he said.

Kuttler enjoys his pastime, as well as meeting newly discovered family members. "By the time you go back 10 generations, you're related to a million people," he noted. "Not only are they friendly - they are related to you."

Singing Mozart

The Columbia Pro Cantare Chorus will open its 26th season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with an all-Mozart program. The concert will be held at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia. A preconcert lecture-and-discussion session will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Singers from western Howard County are Jane Brown, Bonnie Waltman Catalano, Pat Cole, Barbara Cornell, Karen Flippin, Julie Hudson, Susan Huerta, Dianne Kvech, Larry LaGuardia, Alison Matuskey, Jo Ann Russo, Elizabeth Spies and Sharon Stewart.

Tickets are $23 in advance; $20 for senior citizens and students. A $2 surcharge will be applied to tickets purchased at the door. Group rates and season tickets are available.

Information: 410-465-5744 or 410-799-9321.

Sky party

Celestial Searchers will have a Halloween Party at its regular monthly meeting, scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday in the art room at Bushy Park Elementary School in Glenwood. Take a goodie to share and hear a "celestial" Halloween tale.

The group will continue its yearlong project - making "constellation scrapbooks"- and share stories based on the myths and legends surrounding Pegasus, the featured constellation this month.

Take a flashlight for "Red Light Adaptation for Night Sky Observation," presented by Shel Smith. Weather permitting, stargazing will begin at 8 p.m. Founder Joel Goodman asks that each family donate $10 for the school year to help offset expenses.

Country breakfast

The Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department will hold its monthly Country Breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville.

The price is $7 for adults; $6 for senior citizens; and $3 for children ages 4 to 10.

Information: 410-313-7215.

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