The Olive Tree
|Genealogy Made Easy on the Web|
|Have you ever wondered about your ancestors? Have you ever wanted to trace your lineage? If the answer is yes to either of those questions, your solution lies with Reference Librarian Deb Rollins.|
| Deb Rollins is one of Fogler Library's Social Sciences and Humanities Reference Librarians.
Her university curriculum-related expertise lies in psychology, education, human development, and more, but she has also developed an expertise in the field of genealogy. A former chair of Reference Books Bulletin for Booklist, a magazine published by the American Library Association, she has written several reviews of genealogy books, web sites, and databases for professional publication.
Rollins has been teaching a Fogler workshop on genealogy for three years now. She introduces participants to web sites and techniques for doing genealogical searches, and in general, she assists them on their quest to find out more about their family history. "Most of my students come in with a name that they are interested in finding." Rollins said. "Sometimes I'll hear exclamations from them when they find a new piece of information online, which makes my work very rewarding. " She also recommends books, and tells them when they need to pursue original sources such as birth and marriage records.
Deb Rollins' interest in genealogy was originally piqued in high school when her mother began researching the Rollins family tree. Now, she uses genealogy as a tool to teach others about reference material and research. When she teaches her workshops on library resources, she often uses genealogy as an example for a search methods. "If people can understand how to research genealogy, they can apply some of the same techniques to researching other topics, and genealogy makes it interesting for them." Rollins said.
Rollins demonstrates a variety of sites in the workshop, among them, RootsWeb, (http://www.rootsweb.com) which claims to be the oldest and largest free site for the online community of genealogists. The site contains extensive interactive guides and numerous research tools for tracing family histories, and contains more than 181 million ancestor names. The RootsWeb Surname List consists of a registry of nearly one million surnames submitted by more than 225,000 online genealogists. RootsWeb also boasts approximately 24,000 mailing lists and 175,000 message boards. She also likes to have students explore Ancestry.com (http://www.Ancestry.com), which has a wealth of data but requires a subscription, and FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org), a free site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which maintains the largest repository of genealogical materials in the world.
In October 2000, Deb spoke to the Maine Genealogical Society in Ellsworth about resources on genealogy available at Fogler Library. She has also rescued an old, handwritten church society book from a local junk shop, which included names from the Universalist Samaritan Society, The Universalist Social Industrial Circle, The Milford and Old Town Universalist Ladies and Gentlemen's Reunion, and the Universalist Sewing Society. She has entered all of the names and dates (ranging from 1849-1861) onto Rootsweb's user-contributed databases. They can be accessed by going to http://userdb.rootsweb.com/churchrecords and clicking on "Maine".
Rollins' "Genealogy on the Internet" class is offered at no charge as part of the spring semester's Web and Desktop Publishing Series. To find out more go to: http://www.library.umaine.edu/newmedia/ or call Gretchen Gfeller at 581-1696.