Connecting With Your Roots

Sussex Co. Genealogical Society

Great Uncle Harold climbed what, when…and he did it WHY??? Family history can be spotty, and definitely intriguing to know what’s true, and what there is beyond what we know. So how does someone go about doing a genealogical search beyond what we can glean from chatting with family members. And how do we reach beyond the memory of those we still have?

Virginia Callie, from Sussex Genealogical Society shares more, “Because there are so many different approaches to genealogy today, we work to keep relevant, offering lots of different services to help on the journey.”

SGS offers updates monthly programs, September through May, on the third Saturday of the month at the Lewis library from from 10 to 12. They feature well known experts in the fields of genealogy, or they may have a special expertise in computer programs that have to do with genealogy. There are a lot of different approaches to it today, we work to cover a broad area of information, both for our beginner and for people who are more advanced.

So how much expertise does it take to do searches?

Virginia and Maureen at the Health and Fitness Leisure Expo

Start with what you know. With knowing very little other than maybe your parents and your grandparents, you can start with them searching for information on them. Family Search is a place where you can do free searches. And you can build up information that would include census records, birth records, marriage records, land records, military records, there’s just a whole wealth of different sources for information. And the point is to make sure you’re getting good information about your ancestors. So that as you go back in time, you’re sure that you have the right people that you’re looking for. (Especially true if you have a fairly common name.)

Virginia shares, “So Williams is a horribly common name, on my mother’s father’s side. So I got to the point in that search, where I just really wasn’t sure who, you know, I can’t remember exactly what generation was, but maybe like the fourth great grandfather couldn’t really figure out which Williams it was, and then you really have to start digging deeper. I was able to take a trip to Washington, DC to the National Archives. And I was able to find his his ancestors brother who was in the Civil War. And that’s a fascinating thing to actually be able to look at the records from that time period, which they let you do as long as you wear gloves and your you know, you checked out security wise and everything. But anyway, so that helped me in my search, because then I can locate the family, the Williams the correct Williams family. So it is it is a challenge. And as you get more and more involved with this, you learn, you know, what you have to do or what you might want to do to actually find the answer to the question.”

So, other than having a common name. What are some other challenges one might face?

“While most people run into a brick wall with one of their ancestors. This is where you have exhausted pretty much the common sources of information like census records and marriage and birth records, and so on. With the brick wall, you have to get more creative. And actually, that’s where a group can really help. They can brainstorm with you. They can suggest other approaches. Maybe they know about some records that are in a library somewhere.”

Then there’s another tip once you’ve hit a brick wall. Callie shares, “We also have a special program to help people having difficulty in their search, our “genealogist in residence.” We do this on the first Saturday of the month, from 10am to 2pm, sponsored in partnership with the Lewes Historical Society.

You might just want to jump in on your genealogical journey!

Two good ways are 1) Learn more Visit the web page, or FB (Sussex County Genealogical Society) Or attend a meeting, you don’t have to be a member. “For the general meetings, you can just arrive and take part in those. And then we also have some smaller groups that we have through zoom groups called Roots magics. That’s a software program that people get support from each other on what’s called the Family Search support group. We also have a group called “Q&A”, questions and answers. And all of those programs you can get to by going to our web site and asking to be admitted to those programs.

For upcoming events, see their web calendar. Here are the next two:

Wednesday, March 6th, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Zoom meeting)
Q & A: Let’s Talk Genealogy!  
SCGS members and non-members gather monthly via zoom for an open discussion group. Any and all genealogy and genealogy related topics, questions and concerns are welcome. Participants exchange successes and challenges in researching their families – sharing experiences, knowledge and techniques. Topics include software, resources and general tips. Group is moderated by Tom Dempsey and John McKenzie. The meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month at 4 pm. If you would like to join us please request an invitation by contacting:
Saturday, March 16th, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
SCGS General Meeting (Lewes Library or Zoom) 
All members are encouraged to attend and participate. Current members will automatically be sent a link to join the meetings via Zoom. Non-members are welcome to attend and may request an invitation link by sending an email to: no later than March 12th.

Topic: “Holdings of the Delaware Historical Society Research Library” by Lee Risenburg
Collecting and preserving Delaware materials for over 150 years, the Delaware Historical Society has a rich and varied collection of books, ephemera, newspapers, serials, maps, manuscripts and photographs relating to the history of Delaware and its people.

So whether you’re experienced in this kind of area, or just starting out, you have plenty of resources and folks that can help people no matter where they are in their journey.

You can also search for other local groups who partner with you and trying to help people connect with their ancestry. Here are a few more:

Laurel Historical Society
Lewes Historical Society
Lower Delmarva Genealogy Society
Nanticoke Indian Association
Milton Historical Society
Rehoboth Beach Historical Society
Seaford Historical Society
Rehoboth Beach Historical Society
FOR MORE, click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our FREE Updates

Keep in the loop with life in Sussex County DE!  We'll share fun, local events on a Thursday, and great articles on local life each Monday. 

Skip to content