The Evertons’ Genealogy Workshop 50 Years Ago Hooked Me

It was 50 years ago this week – 25 July 1965 to be specific – that George and Ellen (Nielsen) Everton conducted their genealogy workshop in the lower-level auditorium of the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Connecticut.

photo of George and Ellen (Nielsen) Everton

Photo: George and Ellen (Nielsen) Everton. Credit: FamilySearch.org – KWZM-YNM George Baugh Everton, Sr. Memories Page

They were road warriors who routinely conducted classes and day-long genealogical workshops, teaching the basics of genealogy across the country. Their firm – Everton Publishers was founded in 1947 –was active in publishing the long-running Genealogical Helper magazine, how-to books, charts, forms and other support materials for family historians.

The Evertons were terrific – funny, upbeat and personable – as they taught the basics of genealogy research. I had been working on my family history for several years, and this genealogy workshop was a game-changer for me.

I was working at the Ferguson Library then, where I was “apprenticed” to Grace Hope Walmsley (1885-1971), the long-serving genealogy reference librarian there.

article about librarian Grace Hope Walmsley retiring, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 28 February 1968

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 28 February 1968, page 14

Up to that point I had kept my family tree and genealogy notes on the familiar yellow pads of paper, which I kept in a folder in my desk.

Miss Walmsley was a skilled genealogist and teacher. Working with her got me started in genealogy. The Ferguson Library’s Genealogy & Local History Room was always busy – and I learned from her about the books, documents and resources that were needed to document a family history.

Enter Last Name

During a break in the Everton’s genealogy workshop in 1965, they announced that they were giving away door prizes to the youngest and the oldest person attending the seminar.

As one of the hosts of the family history event, I was standing along the side of the auditorium. George Everton said: “The winner of the door prize for the youngest person in the room is easy – it’s him” – pointing in my direction.

I turned around to see whom he was pointing at – and realized he meant me! Ha.

I went up to the front and he gave me a 12-generation family tree chart – which I started filling out and have never looked back.
I was hooked.

I had been getting my genealogy skills from on-the-job training – but now the Evertons opened up more techniques, tools and a sense of what was possible. Their wonderful genealogy workshop was invaluable to me.

Take the time to be trained in genealogy.
There are online classes and webinars available 24/7 on the Internet.

Watch and learn at sites like:

Both of these sites have hundreds of live and taped classes on a wide range of topics – from Hungarian research to the core basics in Genealogy Boot Camp. Also, watch GenealogyBank’s genealogy tutorial webinars on Youtube and the Learning Center.

Check with your local genealogical society and see when their next meeting or event will be. Getting together with other genealogists is an easy way to learn new approaches and improve your research skills.

Related Resources:

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Genealogy Search Tip: Searching by Topic in GenealogyBank’s Database

Being a genealogy site, most people use GenealogyBank by searching on the name of an ancestor. But there are other ways to search for genealogical information in GenealogyBank’s online database.

Did you realize that you can search using any topic or search terms? It is not necessary to always enter an ancestor’s name for every search you do. GenealogyBank makes it easy to research a specific historical event, place or war battle.

Let’s say you know, from an old family letter, that your ancestor fought during the Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg, and you want to read all you can about the battle to learn something of your ancestor’s actions and understand a little better what he must have experienced.

GenealogyBank lets you do that—by simply searching on the historical Civil War battle without including your ancestor’s name.

Here’s how to search by topic in GenealogyBank’s database.

First, use the “Include keywords with search” box that appears on the search form on GenealogyBank’s homepage, and leave the other boxes blank. Remember: you do not have to search by personal name; you may search on any word that appeared in a newspaper, document or map.

Enter the search term Battle of Vicksburg into the box field and click on the green “Begin Search” button. As you can see on the Search Results Page, GenealogyBank has more than 20,000 documents in our database about the Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, including 17,245 newspaper articles!

Perhaps you want to start your genealogy research by reading contemporary newspaper reports of the famous Civil War battle. Click on the historical newspapers link to access the newspapers’ search form.

Then perform a search on the term Battle of Vicksburg and limit the year to 1863 by putting 1863 in the Date box.

This search query returns 2,983 news articles from our newspaper archive database about the Battle of Vicksburg, all written in 1863, including reporters’ first-hand accounts of the action, official military reports, maps, and other documents about that important Civil War battle.

Plenty of good newspaper readings to help you better understand what your ancestor went through, and thereby flesh out that name on your family tree!