Currently I have a Family Tree Maker database of over 5,600 individuals. On my maternal grandmother's side—if one believes what is written in the Saxon Chronicles—I can trace my pedigree back to my 52nd great grandfather, Odin. This is the same Odin from Norse mythology that I discuss in ancient world history. Therefore, I take humorous delight in telling my students that their professor is descended from the gods.
To get an idea about about the research I have been doing, you might want to start with my grandparent's pages:
- Alexander Joseph Liberacki (1908-1959)
- Rachel Olive Wilcox (1909-1990)
- Ferdinand Berg (1896-1942)
- Emma Johanna Ehmann (1896-1970)
Putting Flesh on the Bones
Many genealogists are content to develop a skeletal view of their pedigree by recording only basic information: birth, marriage, death. For me, this is insufficient. I am interested in details and stories. When I can not find such stories in order to write biographical sketches for the Liberacki-Wilcox-Berg Genealogy, I set the relatives in their socio-historical context.
I am able to incorporate the Liberacki-Wilcox-Berg Genealogy into my teaching by citing family members as examples as well as by discussing research methodology. For example, I discuss Thomas Tracy (1610-1685) when I discuss how an historian handles conflicting evidence and why first person accounts can be problematic (e.g. Tracy might be lying about his grandfather). I cite Margaretha Henningsmith (1862-1929) as an example of how historians need to be aware of multiple spellings for names. Henningsmith has seven different spellings—at least that I have discovered so far.
Students sometimes find it difficult to understand that they can do quality research and still have nothing to show for it. When someone is worried that they are not finding materials even after extensive effort, I tell about how I have spend at least 50 hours of research over the past several years trying to find primary source evidence that Edmund Wilcox(1785-1866)is Asa Wilcoxson's (b. 1761)son.
I have also created lessons around other ancestors such as William de Traci (c. 1133 - c. 1225)in a lesson concerning "Truth vs. Truthfulness."
Because of my interest in genealogy, I was asked to review Andrea Stuart's Sugar in the Blood (2013). My review, "Sugar Barons of the Barbados," incorporates my genealogical research appeared in the International Agenda 13.1 (Winter 2014)which is published by the Schoolcraft College International Institute.