• Kristin Wenger

2020 Year-in-review

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

If there is one thing that is certain about 2020, it definitely was not the year any of us anticipated at this time last December.



Looking back, however, I am incredibly grateful for all of the professional and educational opportunities in the past year. Despite the challenges and everchanging circumstances, 2020 was a year of progress for Roots & Wings Research.


Scholarship:

In January, I learned that I won a scholarship from Ancestry Progenealogists. I will be using the scholarship to attend SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) next month. I am disappointed to miss out on the travel portion to attend in person and visit the Family History Library, but I am thankful for the technology that enables us to learn and network with colleagues remotely during the pandemic.


Client work:

In addition to several local clients, I worked with individuals from a variety of states to help them discover more about their Lancaster County roots:

  • California

  • Georgia

  • Illinois

  • Maryland

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Texas

  • Vermont

Their projects ranged from research on biological grandparents to multi-generation house histories to tracing Irish immigrant ancestors to untangling the identities of men of the same name to pinpointing the location of 1730s Pennsylvania land surveys. Every client’s goals are unique and I love diving into each new project.


Education:

The pandemic became a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to participate in a few educational opportunities virtually that I would not have been able to attend in person. My major educational endeavors for 2020 included the following:



Personal research:

Client work kept me fairly busy, so I did not spend a great deal of time on my personal research. However, I’ll share two exciting highlights:

  • I used DNA to discover the unknown biological father of my great-grandfather in 1887 Amsterdam. It led to a fascinating study of the Dutch Jewish community and the tragic realization that many of his biological relatives died in the Holocaust.

  • Several distant cousins contacted me after reading blog posts about a common ancestor. The most exciting connection was a gentleman who shared amazing handwritten records and diary entries that he had inherited.


Lititz Historical Foundation:

  • I continued to field requests for research in my volunteer role as in-house genealogist for the Lititz Historical Foundation. Coincidentally, all six requests involved the history of houses in Lititz or the vicinity. I found that I really enjoy house histories and uncovering the stories of previous residents.

  • My part-time work as a tour guide was sidelined in the spring due to COVID closure, but we recorded our first-ever video tours. I was delighted when we were able to open July through October and I could introduce guests to Moravian life in late 18th century Lititz.


Publication:

I wrote a review that was published in the September edition of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.




What’s coming up in January and February 2021:

  • I’m looking forward to presenting two virtual programs in February:

1. a lecture on strategies for researching women for the Willow Valley Genealogy Club

2. a workshop on maximizing success with digitized newspapers for the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society

  • Continuing work on client projects

  • I’ll be part of the newly relaunched GenProof Study Group (Mastering Genealogical Proof) in the beta group with mentor Jan Joyce

  • During the last week of January, I will use my Ancestry ProGenealogists scholarship to refine my pre-1850 Pennsylvania research skills in the SLIG course “The Pennsylvania German and Research in the Keystone State,” coordinated by Michael Lacopo


Here's to 2021!


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