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Research advice shared at SPL genealogy workshop

August 18, 2012


The crowd gathered Saturday for Starkville Public Library’s genealogy workshop are one step closer to completing the puzzles of their past.

Sponsored by the Hic-A-Sha-Ba-Ha chapter of the Daughter’s of the American Revolution, the workshop featured presentations from Kay Parker Evans, Sharon Keys and Caroline Reed.

Evans said she is fortunate enough to be retired so she can pursue her love of genealogy.

“I didn’t set out to become a member of DAR,” Evans said. “I thought of it as a way of honoring my father.”

Evans said through her searches, utilizing both printed and online records she was been able to identify several family members who fought during the Revolutionary War.

“I’ve identified seven patriots and I’m working on eight more,” she said. “I’ve been working on this family…but I’m getting close to solving it.”

Instructing those in attendance on using websites like and, Evans said providing evidence and verification was essential for correctly tracing one’s family history.

“You must verify every piece of information, even what your mother told you,” she said. “I encourage you to include family lore, but be curious enough to find out if it was true or not.”

Evans said the key to beginning any genealogical journey is to start with one’s self and work backwards, learning along the way.
“It can be hard for those of us in the South because a lot of our records were burned,” she said. “We have to build a lot of circumstantial evidence.”

Evans said persistence in researching and following the gut instinct were necessary in finding desired family information, and that researchers should not shy away from the websites available.

“When you go to any of these sites, don’t be afraid to really use them,” she said. “If you get lost, close it out and start from the beginning.”
Evans introduced Sharon Keys as a speaker, noting that Keys had been involved in the transcription process of the 1940 United States Census which was released earlier this year with completed ancestry information.

“After 72 years, the 1940 Census was released on April 2, 2012,” Keys said. “One thing that I really love about the 1940 Census is that it earmarks the person who actually gave the information.”

While Evans said the record-finding process can be challenging at times, she offered two powerful principles to help those further their research.

“Look for information on a record that will lead to other records,” Evans said. “And find information about your most recent ancestors, then work back in time.”

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