Hello! I hope this finds every reader doing well in these interesting times. Back in April, in the early days of this COVID-19 Pandemic we've all been living through, I wrote a post titled, "Renate on the Web." Because of the lockdowns that had been put in place, most of previously planned, in person events had been canceled, and I'd found myself suddenly enjoying a greater web presence than usual. Thinking it would be temporary, I decided it would be a good idea to compile and document all of my doings in one place, hoping to create a record for the future as well as an easy way for anyone interested in my work to find some offerings in one spot. Little did I know, at that time, that this was just the beginning of what was about to become the norm for most of us - living our lives (and our livelihoods) on the Internet.
For a while now, I've been meaning to do another iteration of "Renate on the Web," as I've been busier than ever before with webinars, conference workshops, guest appearances on genealogy shows, and even creating a show of my own on YouTube! All of that, along with continued client work - with one big case being preparation for a Finding Your Roots type of "reveal" on our local public radio station - and writing newsletter articles and a guest blog post (coming soon), I have been very, very busy! In this post, and one to follow, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve been doing.
For quite some time, I’d been brewing an idea for a web show that would focus solely on highlighting the particulars of North Carolina genealogy research for the purpose of supporting and informing those working in this area. I also longed to bring together a community of North Carolina researchers, who would hence connect with and support one another, in our research journeys. The problem was, due to my own personal idiosyncrasies, I just didn’t have the confidence to get this started. That was until it occurred to me, one day, to invite a partner to join me in the endeavor – and that perfect partner was the incredible Taneya Koonce! One day, I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, and I came upon a post from Taneya, whom I’ve known for about 10 years. As soon as I saw her picture, it hit me – “I should see if she’d want to do the NC show with me!” So, I reached out to Taneya, pitched my idea, and the rest is history!
Together, Taneya and I created a plan for our show, which was to be a summer series, with episodes on the first and third Saturdays of each month. With more people home and digging into research during the pandemic, we thought this series might provide the perfect boost for researchers who may be either just starting or trying to get to that "next level" in their pursuit of family history. The show would stay tightly focused on topics related to genealogy research in the Tar Heel state, with Taneya and I doing the presentations. 😂Well, shortly into our planning, we changed that! We decided to open our platform, inviting nationally known speakers who had experience in North Carolina research to be our featured presenters, with Taneya and I opening each episode with shorter, introductory presentations on each topic. With this format, we were able to highlight many of our gen-friends as “experts” on particular topics, thus giving our growing community of North Carolina researchers quality information and immediate links to connect them with proven resources that would aid in their work.And, so, on June 6, 2020, the first episode of “Let’s Talk North Carolina Genealogy” aired! The show has been a big hit and has turned out to be even better than imagined. Despite some technical glitches here and there (which we choose to just laugh about), all of the episodes have been well received, and the feedback has been amazing! The entire purpose of this venture was to help others with their research, and that goal has been (and continues to be) met – not just for North Carolina researchers, but for others who are doing this work, everywhere! We had six LIVE summer episodes, and one very special, registration-only, Q&A episode, which has not been aired, publicly. Our viewers have indicated that they’d like the show to continue or to at least come back next summer, but the jury is still out on that. For now, we’ve added a special Fall episode, and will likely do one for each upcoming season… until summer comes, again. 😊
Please visit our NC Summer Series channel on YouTube to view all of the previous episodes. In addition to a special THANK YOU to my amazing co-host, Taneya, I’d like to express eternal gratitude to our guest presenters, who helped to make this vision a reality. Kudos to:
*Diane Acey Richard (Episode 1: NC Birth Records)
*Drusilla Pair (Episode 2: NC Marriage Records)
*Lisa Lisson (Episode 3: NC Death Records)
Ari Wilkins (Episode 4: NC Manuscript Collections)
*Doug Brown (Episode 5: Research at the State Archives of NC)
*Shannon Christmas (Episode 6: DNA)
Judy Russell (Special Fall Episode: Law in the Tar Heel State)
And thanks to all with asterisks above, plus Michael McCormick, Connie Knox, and Craig Scott for participating as panelists on our very successful, registration-only Q&A episode! To stay up to date with our progress, please like and follow our Let's Talk North Carolina Genealogy Facebook page to join our community and get notifications about future events.
Also, in June, I was invited by Geoff Rasmussen and Marian Pierre-Louis to do my very first presentation for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, the ultimate web site for genealogy education! Their request was for my very popular talk, “Finding Calvin: Following My Enslaved Ancestor Through Multiple Owners.”
This presentation is an overview, in a (loose) case study format, of the methodology I used to document my great-grandfather, Calvin Yarborough’s, 25 years of enslavement under several different owners. The invitation was to participate in Legacy’s inaugural “Free Webinar Weekends in June – African American Track.” I had a great time recording the webinar with Geoff and then listening to it, when presented by Marion on the appointed date. If you’re a Legacy subscriber or would like to become one, I’d love for you to check out Finding Calvin!
Like just about everyone, I’ve been spending a LOT of time on Zoom calls, for all kinds of meetings and events. I can’t begin to recall everything I’ve done on Zoom, during this pandemic, but one of the most memorable was cohosting a family reunion meetup, for the very first time. Yes, in collaboration with two of my cousins, Willa-Jo Green (of Maryland) and Jamila Taylor (of Washington State), the first-ever Hawkins-Green Descendants Virtual Family Reunion Meetup was held. I’m so glad we did that when we did, because, since then, we’ve lost our 101-year-old family matriarch, my cousin, Florine Green Edgerton. May she rest in peace.
I actually blogged about this event, so just click here to read all about it!
Well, that’s it for this update. I’ll be back, soon, with another post about Renate on the Web! 😊
Thanks for reading!