People begin the study of family history for many different reasons. Some people are interested in the facts found within a family tree, while others want to create connection between generations. For family history researcher Michelle Gobert, her interest began with a question about a long-lost family member. Twenty years later, Michelle has not only uncovered the whereabouts of that long-lost family member but has also discovered a passion for sharing stories of local Forest County families and the places that make up Forest County and its rich heritage.
Recently Michelle approached program developers at UW-Madison, Division of Extension where she works as a Positive Youth Development educator, about offering a beginning family history course for Forest County families. Program developers worked with Michelle to create an 8-week long virtual course designed to connect families across generations, as well as offering participants the opportunity to learn about the various cultural and heritage research opportunities Forest county offers including the Polish settlement at Armstrong Creek, the Scotch-Irish ancestry of Kentuck families, and the Native American history of both the Sokaogon Chippewa and the Pottawatomi tribal nations.
Participants in the course are not required to have Forest County roots. In fact, Michelle personally does not have roots in Forest County, but her husband and sons do. When Michelle found herself intrigued by family stories but unable to travel to conduct research, Michelle began researching her husband’s Kentuck roots in Forest County to learn about vital records, naturalization records and courthouse research.
The class, scheduled to begin the week of October 12th, will feature 8-weeks of online coursework within UW-Madison’s virtual classroom CANVAS. Topics include family tree basics, online databases and sources, research plans and uncovering the history of your house, farm or cottage. Online computer skills are required, and Michelle will offer drop-in research assistance at the Crandon Public Library on Wednesday evenings from 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Participants are encouraged to register with a research buddy, as sharing family stories is part of the fun. Research buddies can range from grandparent and grandchild, to an auntie and her nephew, to siblings looking to uncover grandma’s high-school prom date. Youth under the age of 18 must register with an adult. Of course, participants may choose to register on an individual basis as family research can be a rewarding private study that leads to the life-long study of history, geography, social studies and foreign travel. The class is free, self-paced and limited to thirty participants.
For additional details about the course, or to contact Michelle, please call her at 715-478-7797 or email email@example.com.