Friday, March 23, 2012

Out and About - BIGS

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the regularly scheduled meeting of the Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society (BIGS) as an invited guest of Priscilla Greenlees. I've recently become acquainted with Priscilla through the Family History Center in Poulsbo, Washington. Priscilla is a life-long researcher who personally knows many of the well-known specialists in the genealogy world. She is also actively affiliated with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. I'm very glad to get to know her.

The BIGS meeting was held in the upstairs meeting room of the Bainbridge Island Library and was well worth attending (my husband, not a genealogist, even enjoyed it). The program was titled Combining Social History and Genealogy to Create Family History. Three members of the Society, Anna DuPen, Cathy Jones-Smith and Claire Smith, participated in a University of Washington extension course which required they focus on a single ancestor for one year. They each presented their findings to a packed room comprised of the general membership of the Society. Each presentation was approximately 30 minutes long, and each was interesting and valuable in its own right.

Claire Smith, the Society President, made her presentation first, detailing her search for her ancestor, Jacques Ritchot. Her search led her to Canada, the Caribbean and back to New England. Claire and I discovered we're related!

Following Claire, Cathy Jones-Smith shared her journey following her female ancestor who homesteaded in western Montana. She focused on an 11-year period and came away with a piece of her grandmother's stove top!

Finally, Anna DuPen presented what she'd found about her ancestor from North Carolina, detailing her quest to understand the family lore that 'grandpa was buried in the chicken yard.' She gained (and shared) a great deal of knowledge surrounding the Civil War in North Carolina, as well as clarification of the family story.

This was a morning well spent. I look forward to further association with this Society. If you have an interest in your family history and live in the Kitsap County area, particularly in or near Bainbridge Island, consider becoming a member of BIGS. Their research, as you can see from the content of the presentations, includes a much larger scope than the local area.

Thank you to the members of BIGS for a great event.

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