our monthly genealogy group which meets on the first Thursday of the month
Meet Michelle LeClair, The genealogist who runs our monthly group. We asked her how she got started, and here's what she said:
I was 12-years-old in Mr. Marino’s 8th grade English class at Chatham Middle School and an assignment began a lifelong passion. The project was to make a family tree. My grandmother lived with us and Mammy (Penn. Dutch for grandmother) was an essential piece to my never-ending puzzle. She had 4 siblings and 3 half-siblings, two of whom had 10 children each. I was quickly on the floor laying out pages to connect the dots. I got an A, too. (smile)
Not long after that I started ceaselessly visited libraries, cemeteries—thank you, Mom, for carting me around—and dozens of other places in Pennsylvania. As I researched I’d go back to Mammy, ask more questions, and the cycle resumed, probably hundreds of times, filling in names, dates and writing down stories from Mammy and countless other relatives. I loved those stories!
Skip ahead a few years and after graduating college at St. Rose I began volunteering with the National Archives and Records Administration in Pittsfield, MA. I thought I knew a lot, but I still had a lot to learn. I volunteered there for five years before their closure due to budget cuts. Jean Nudd Elliott, the archivist, soon became my mentor and champion, supporting me as I began to teach and lecture on various topics.
Fast forward to the present: I teach beginning genealogy classes, lecture on French Canadian genealogy (that’s a whole other story) among other topics, and earlier this year I started a monthly genealogy Club at the Chatham Library, called Chatham Roots.
On the first Thursday of the month, we start at 2 pm and have an hour of Q&A, useful for beginners getting started on their research, followed by an hour-long topic from 3-4 pm, and wrap up with more advanced Q&A from 4-5 pm. Fellow NARA volunteer, Lisa Dougherty, is a frequent visitor and an asset for those looking for their Irish roots.
We are free and open to everyone. I hope you’ll join us!