Second Saturday Family History Workshop: Researching the Female Line

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The Kentucky Genealogical Society joins the Kentucky Historical Society with a series of free family history workshops each month at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History. Topics range from how to begin documenting your ancestry to specialized resources for experienced genealogists.

Morning session runs from 10:30-11:30AM, followed by an hour break for lunch. Second session runs from 12:30-1:30PM. A light box lunch is available at a cost of $6 payable at the door when requested in advance. Registration for these free workshops is required by noon of the previous Friday.

For more information or to register, contact:

Martin F. Schmidt Research Library Reference Desk
(502) 564-1792, ext. 4460

May 11th Second Saturday Program:
Speaker: Pamela Lyons Brinegar, CG


Where O Where Can They Be? – Researching Women Part One
Female ancestors, especially those who lived prior to the early twentieth century, are often difficult to trace. Our family trees may contain a woman’s likely first name, but little else. Some resources are typically more useful than others, but there is no single path to solving these mysteries. Patient researchers who learn methods can be rewarded for their effort and may even reach defensible conclusions in the absence of records. A short case study, “Did Sally Chism Exist?” illustrates the teasing out of slender threads of information that are suggestive of a Scott County Kentucky woman’s lost identity. We may also find women who did not build families of their own. Should we spend our valuable time on those who left no descendants?   “Finding Julia P. Robinson,” is the unexpected story of an African American woman from Lexington, Kentucky.

Casting a Wider Net - Researching Women Part Two
Studying the societies in which our female ancestors lived will inevitably lead to researching collateral relatives as well as family friends and neighbors. Our understanding of local customs can be bolstered by an examination of lawsuits, manuscripts, family papers, and other ephemera held by repositories. These items can often substitute for vital records, confirm relationships, and even surprise us. When Polly L. Ficklin of Fayette County, Kentucky died of cholera in 1849, she left property in trust for many of her enslaved individuals, especially the women. Depositions given almost a half century later laid essential groundwork for bringing forward the documented stories of these women who lacked legal surnames and marriages, left no known written journals, and died before vital records were commonplace.

Speaker biography
Pamela Lyons Brinegar is a board-certified genealogist who specializes in central and eastern Kentucky. She developed and teaches Build Your Family History, a popular eight-week course offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kentucky. Pam is the recipient of a Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment grant for research on mid-nineteenth century African American women and a writing excellence award from the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors for her article proving the identity of jockey Isaac B. Murphy’s father.