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WCU Stories

Ancestry Library Edition genealogical workshop set at Hunter

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library is hosting an Ancestry Library Edition workshop open to the university’s students, faculty and staff from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 28.

Participants will have the opportunity to conduct hands-on genealogical research in Ancestry Library Edition, a tool created for libraries that provides patrons with instant access to a wide range of primary sources — including census, military, vital and immigration records — for genealogical and historical research. It is available to the WCU community through the library’s website, and community members may access it by physically visiting the library.

The workshop will be led by research and instruction services librarians Heidi Buchanan, Krista Schmidt and Scottie Kapel. They will talk about the basics of genealogical research, the information participants will need to research their own families, and some of the challenges they can expect along the way, which may include “time-consuming forays down incorrect paths, indecipherable penmanship and creative interpretations of people’s names or occupations,” Kapel said.

The workshop is part of a larger Ancestry DNA Project led by Buchanan, Schmidt and Kapel. Through the committee overseeing the current campus learning theme, “Defining America,” the librarians received funding to provide 15 students with AncestryDNA test kits. During the semesterlong project, the students have participated in discussion boards, attended a lecture given by biology professor James Costa on what DNA can reveal about a person’s past, and engaged with information literacy concepts at a personal and biological level.

The March 28 workshop will be held in Room 186 of Hunter Library. Space is limited, and registration is required to reserve a space. To register, visit this web page.

Participants should come to the workshop with the name of a family member they would like to research, Kapel said. “The best starting point is with a head of household from the late-19th or early-20th century and that person’s approximate years of birth and death, and places of residence,” she said.

For more information, contact Kapel at or 828-227-3416.

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