|Joanie Barnes and Tom McFarland. Photo by Erin Colonna|
Barnes and McFarland's contribution to the book, titled "Introducing Genealogy to the Academic Library in the 21st Century," outlines the genealogy programming they created at the University Libraries and the three objectives the programming accomplishes: to reach out to campus faculty, staff, and students; to involve library faculty and staff; and to bring community users into the Libraries.
|Available July 2018|
The genealogy programming at the Libraries includes a monthly series called Genealogy over Lunch, and an annual event called Family History Day. The monthly series is geared towards university faculty, staff, and students, whereas Family History Day brings in more of the Lincoln community. The programs include speakers and cover specific tools, resources, collections, and topics. Barnes and McFarland have surveyed the attendees over the years and tweaked the programs to meet the needs and interest of their audiences.
Barnes and McFarland are both passionate genealogists who became interested in family research while listening to stories told by an older relative. For Tom, it started when he was around 8 years old listening to his great aunt tell stories about the family. He was entranced with the fairy-tale aspect of the stories, and soon found that it was a great big puzzle that he could begin to put together. A few years later, Tom read Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley and was inspired to embark on his personal journey to uncover his family tree.
Joan recalls a similar time that sparked her interest in genealogy. As a child, she loved listening to the stories her paternal grandmother told. The stories stayed with her and later, after graduate school when she returned home, her younger brother showed her an old family Bible with names of their ancestors written inside. With the Bible in hand, the two siblings went to the town's enormous cemetery and spent the entire day roaming the gravestones until they found every name. "It was a long day," Joan remembers, "because all the names were in the very last row of the cemetery!" After that, Joan was hooked.
With resources like Ancestry.com widely available, tracking down one's family tree has never been more popular or faster, but a true genealogist, Tom and Joan agree, has a thirst for accuracy and is in it for the long haul. "Genealogical research is the ultimate pyramid scheme," Tom notes, "for every ancestor you find, there are two more to find!" Joan, laughing, adds: "Every question you get answered, you've got another question to answer."
Congratulations to Joan Barnes and Tom McFarland for their upcoming publication. Please join Joan, Tom, and others for the 4th annual Family History Day (details below). This is a free event, but registration is required.