By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Everyone has a history. It’s just that some pasts are easier to uncover than others.
Each month, the Genealogy Club based out of the Sherborn Community Center meets to reveal findings and discoveries about their family’s history and help one another push past the brick walls in their research.
Although the group usually meets in the library, they relocated to the Unitarian Universalist Area Church for the October 18 meeting, where professional genealogist, Pamela Guye Holland, joined the group to share techniques about researching family trees. Her presentation, “Finding the Stories about Your Ancestors,” inspired the genealogists to research and reconstruct at their ancestors’ social history.
“As genealogists, we often deal with the macro level of history and we usually know about the broader events, such as wars and political eras and that kind of thing,” said Holland. “But what social history does, is that it often focuses on the micro level of history.”
From public records, it’s relatively simply to find birth, marriage, and death certificates of ancestors. However, social history looks into religion, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, political affiliations, natural disasters, and even fashion.
“One of the places I suggest starting first is at home,” said Holland. “Start with what you know and what you might have in your house.”
Through photos and stories from family members, one can learn much about their ancestors’ social history. Even recipes that have been passed down to each generation can unveil information about one’s family.
One can also research what a place may have been like in a particular time period by looking at digitized newspaper articles and advertisements.
Members of The Genealogy Club, which meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 1 p.m., discuss new findings about their families and issues encountered in their research. One woman discussed her quest to search for a picture of her father and his friends at Castle Island for the 1975 exhibition “Where’s Boston?” Another genealogist found herself going in circles looking for her adopted father’s birth father.
While the roadblocks involved in researching the past can be undoubtedly frustrating, the rewards of discovering one’s ancestors make all of the setbacks worthwhile.
“You never know what you’re going to find until you start looking,” said Holland.