I began tracing my family history in 1994 out of a need to understand my roots. After researching for several years, I felt the need to share my findings with others. As early as 1995, I began sharing my findings at family reunions.
However, a few years later, an opportunity arose for me to share genealogy and family history beyond my family. My first major opportunity to conduct a genealogy workshop came from the library of Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA. It was interesting how I got the invitation to speak at ODU. I was working as an applications computer software trainer (Microsoft Office/WordPerfect, etc.) and my company had a contract to train ODU employees in computer skills. I was originally supposed to conduct training at another company, but that class was canceled and I was sent to ODU to teach a computer class instead.
In my introduction to my class, I mentioned that my hobby was tracing my family history. Ironically the Friends of the Library of ODU were planning a genealogy conference and needed someone to speak about genealogy and computers. I don’t remember exactly who was in this class, but I guess someone in the class was on this committee because these were all ODU employees whom I was training.
Months later, I was invited to present a session on using Family Tree Maker and Internet software at the Friends of the Library genealogy conference on a Saturday in July 1998. The presentation was a success and I also learned a lot from the other speakers.
Now, almost eleven years later, I have had numerous opportunities to conduct genealogy workshops at churches, libraries, cultural festivals, and local and national genealogical societies.
This weekend, I was notified of my acceptance as a workshop speaker for the first International Black Genealogy Summit on October 29-31, 2009 at the Allen County Public Library. I look forward to this opportunity and to other opportunities to conduct workshops.