20 January 2010

Discover the Joys of Genealogy with Helen F. M. Leary, CG (Emeritus), FASG, FNGS

The National Genealogical Society announces a series of interviews with Helen Leary, whose recognition in the field of genealogy includes Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and Fellow of the National Genealogical Society. See the interviews at www.ngsgenealogy.org at the "Videos and Publications" tab.

Helen Leary’s many scholarly publications include the seminal National Genealogical Society Quarterly study, "Sally Hemings’s Children: A Genealogical Analysis of the Evidence." Hear Leary discuss the research and analytical techniques she used to arrive at the conclusion that Thomas Jefferson was the probable father of several of Sally Hemings’s children. Find a copy of her article adjacent to the video at www.ngsgenealogy.org at the "Videos and Publications" tab.

In her interview Helen talks about the value of bringing our ancestors back into memory. "I once studied the history of genealogy and the rise and fall of genealogy through the ages. And I discovered that the renaissance in genealogy comes when there is economic unrest. Somehow, when our economic life begins to shake, it’s like being in an earthquake. We don’t know exactly where we stand. But it’s comforting to know who our people were and, you know, as one person said, 'You don’t know where you’re going for sure if you don’t know where you’ve been and where you’ve come from ...'. I think people right now are just unsure of who they are and where they are going and what’s going to happen."

Other video segments include how Leary became a genealogist as well as stories about her family and the importance of close connections with extended family today. In “Stories from My Research” she talks about how tiny and mysterious clues can reveal family relationships.

While visiting the National Genealogical Society website at www.ngsgenealogy.org, you may also view the documentary, Paths to Your Past, produced by award-winning cinematographer Allen Moore and filmed in part at the 2009 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. More video clips from the conference will be added throughout 2010.