The Office of Human Resources has quarterly meetings in which we invite speakers from other areas of TU’s campus to educate our office. On February 10, Joyce Garczynski, Cook Library’s Communications and Development Librarian, gave a thought-provoking presentation on finding your family tree, “Genealogy 101.”
It’s been said a teacher’s greatest reward is for her students to actively utilize what they have learned; well, the Office of Human Resources did just that! During the week of April 9, OHR staff celebrated their family heritage. Each office and cubicle was adorned with personal artifacts, pictures, family trees and heartfelt stories of our ancestors and how they have impacted our lives today.
This shared information helped us understand each other better, appreciate our cultural backgrounds and gain interesting facts about our co-workers’ ancestry. Some OHR employees’ had links to local Maryland history, such as Mary Dunaway. Mary’s great-grandfather, George Smith, owned a portion of property which he later sold to Baltimore City. Today that piece of land is known as the Loch Raven Reservoir!
Other members of OHR were able to trace their roots back hundreds of years. Karen Stukes discovered her family tree could be traced back to 1820 when her relatives in the Williams family migrated to Screven County, Georgia. Another member of OHR, Jennifer Stano, was able to follow her lineage all the way back to passengers on the Mayflower in 1600! Among the interesting heirlooms people shared was a 155-year-old wooden shoe. It belonged to Deneice Fusco and was worn by her ancestor when he was settling into this country all that time ago.
Others shared more recent family history, such as Bonnie Yourick and Lisa Schmith. Bonnie’s father, Robert Fouts, was a race car driver who won the 1962 Maryland State Championship, while Lisa’s father, Mr. John Forrest, was a WWII Navy veteran that received a thank you letter from President Harry S. Truman for his service to our great country.
To say the least, this amazing exercise astonished most of us and helped us to appreciate the impact of knowing our history, our heritage, and most of all the uniqueness of diversity. If we were all the same, had the same beginnings and experiences, would life be as interesting?
When you dig deep enough into your family history, you too might find some “hidden treasures.” If this prospect strikes your interest as it did with the Office of Human Resources, here are a few websites that will help you begin your journey:
· Ancestry’s Family Tree Maker:http://www.familytreemaker.com/
· Legacy Family Tree Software:http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/
· GenoPro: http://www.genopro.com/
· Family Tree Builder: http://www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder