Research Family History in 2020

The cold days of winter often lead to more time inside and more time to take on new projects.  If you have ever thought about studying your genealogy, this could be a great time for you to start.  There are many resources available in Bel Air, including workshops being held throughout the year, that can help steer you in the right direction no matter if you are a beginner or a more experienced researcher.

Genealogy is the study of families, family history and tracing of lineages.  Historically, many family histories were passed down from generation to generation through storytelling or word of mouth. Now with the ability to do internet research, we have many more places we can acquire information.

Researching family history can take a lot of time, energy, and resources.  We are fortunate to have great resources at our fingertips in Bel Air!  The Historical Society of Harford County, located at 143 North Main Street, has many records you can access to help you get started if your family is from Harford County.  There are several times each month that you can go to Headquarters and get help from someone who is an expert in family history research.  Thursdays from 9am – 3pm are Family History Days and you can also stop in on the 4th Saturday of each month from 10am – 2pm or on the third Wednesday during their extended hours from 5pm-8pm and there will be someone there to guide you.

While the Historical Society does not have vital records, they do have family files, cemetery records, early land records, court records and over 100,000 photos to help you put pieces of your family’s journey together.

The Historical Society of Harford County is also offering nine genealogy workshops in 2020 whose topics range from “Using Business Records in Genealogy” in January to “Was My Ancestor a Pilgrim?” in November. 

Mary Schweers who serves as an Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Historical Society of Harford County, holds a Certificate of Genealogy Research from Boston University.  Mary says that “Studying genealogy is a fun way to explore your story.  Doing the research yourself is so rewarding because that story belongs to you and no one else.” 

Another resource is the Harford County Public Library’s Genealogy Discussion Group where attendees can join fellow researchers and share techniques, tips and resources.  The group meets once a month on the third Monday of the month from 6:00 – 7:30pm at the Bel Air Branch of the Harford County Public Library (in the event of a holiday, such as in January and February, the gathering is moved to the second Monday). In April, a special guest speaker will be featured in a presentation called “Genealogy, Genes and Health” in which Professor of Genetics, Pediatrics and Oncology Joann N. Bodurtha of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will discuss the importance of listening to what your genes are telling you. This session will be held April 20th at 6:30pm at the Bel Air Branch of the Harford County Public Library. In addition to the monthly discussions, the Harford County Public Library will also offer a full day genealogy conference on March 28th at the Bel Air Armory. 

Below is a list of genealogy workshops being offered in Bel Air throughout the year.  More information can be found on each in our Calendar of Events or on the websites for the Historical Society of Harford County or the Harford County Public Library.  

Happy researching!

Local workshops and discussions for 2020 include:

January 8 Getting Down to Business, Using Business Records in Genealogy – Historical Society

January 13 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

February 10 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

February 12 2020 African American Genealogy Resources – Historical Society

March 11 2020 Irish Genealogy – Historical Society

March 16 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

March 28 Genealogy Conference – The Harford County Public Library at the Bel Air Armory

April 8 Genealogy Software 2020 – Historical Society

April 20 Genealogy, Genes and Health – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

May 13 Finding Clues in Names – Historical Society

May 18 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

June 15 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

July 13 Finding Your Roots:  Who Do You Think You Are? – Historical Society

July 20 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

August 17 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

September 9 Using Academic Records and Other School Related Resources – Historical Society

September 21 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

October 19 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

November 11 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower – Was My Ancestor a Pilgrim- Historical Society

November 16 Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

December 9 My Ancestor Did What? – Historical Society

December 21 – Genealogy Discussion Group – Bel Air Branch Harford County Public Library

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