Finding roots of family trees|Workshop to focus on collecting data for family histories

Published 8:32 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

BATH — Need a little help climbing the family tree?
Historic Bath State Historic Site and the Historic Bath Book Club are co-sponsoring a workshop this weekend to help folks do just that.
The event, planned for Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Bath Visitors Center, is being held in recognition of Family History Month, according to Bea Latham, historic interpreter and assistant site manager.
“The program is open to those of all ages as the gathering of many types of genealogical information can be done by even the smallest family members,” said Latham, who will lead the workshop. “So, bring a child, a spouse, family member or friend and join in the fun of genealogical research as you work on creating a family legacy.”
Latham, along with other members of the Beaufort County Genealogical Society, will be on hand to assist in the various areas of data collecting and recording.
“I would like to encourage several people in a family to attend, since this is a good way to expose the children in your family to ways to organize things about themselves or things about their family,” Latham said. “Doing it together makes it an enjoyable task, rather than having one person in a family trying to organize family history from the time the family left another country.”
Those attending the workshop are also invited to bring along family photos and documents, in limited quantities, to be scanned and preserved, Latham added.
“Over the past few years, at different times, we’ve offered people the opportunity to bring in family items and have them scanned or added to our files,” she said. “They can also stay after the structured program and do their own work. Maybe they want to get started and get some assistance in retrieving the information they need.”
Historic Bath’s archives will be open for perusal and research during the workshop, Latham said.
“We have a research library where people often come in to use our materials,” she said. “Our resources are limited, but this gives them the chance to get their hands into some research-type activities.”
The site’s library includes records and newspaper clippings, Latham said.
“We have a set of colonial records, which are basically letters and documents that were sent back and forth between North Carolina settlers and England,” she said. “Those records go up to the Revolution, so they cover our English history in some ways.”
The library also includes the published articles of the Beaufort County Genealogical Society, as well as newspaper excerpts, some census information and marriages and death information, according to Latham. Most of that information is from the late 19th and 20th centuries. Copies of documents located in the library can be made at a cost of 25 cents per page.
Latham also encouraged families to keep their histories and files current, especially in this age of technological advances.
“Our children and grandchildren are going to find there isn’t the paper trail because correspondence now is being done by text messaging and e-mails,” she said. “Very few teenagers today have letters they’ve written back and forth to friends. That’s really a dying area of family history, and we have to be a little more diligent about that.”
Saturday’s program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 252-923-3971.