Genealogy workshop

CADILAC — A free genealogy workshop is being held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Cadillac Senior Center.

During the workshop, those attending will have a chance to work with genealogy specialists with access to "many databases" for about 30 minutes.

The workshop is sponsored by the Marie Therese Cadillac Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. Volunteer Karen Smeltzer-Rowley explained the whole process for our Volunteer Spotlight interview.

"We want to help people in the community find their lineage, especially if they'd like to become a part of the DAR. We held this workshop three years ago, that's how I got involved in DAR. I had some information about my ancestors going back to the Revolutionary War, and I wanted to pursue that."

The DAR is a lineage-based membership service organization for women directly descended from a person involved in the United States efforts towards independence. They work to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism.

Smeltzer-Rowley has a Revolutionary War patriot on her mother's side "but couldn't find the documentation to lock it in."

"He was a doctor in Pennsylvania and he served wounded soldiers from his brothers' tavern," she said. "There was a snag with documentation because of the many fires during the Civil War that destroyed so many records."

However, she was able to document a patriot from her father's side of the family.

"My patriot has the same name as my son, Christopher Elrod, and that's my maiden name," she said. "His family is buried in North Carolina and he's my seventh great-grandfather."

Smeltzer-Rowley said that getting the initial information at the DAR genealogy workshop was the start of a great journey of discoveries.

"They took the information I had and they found the connections," she said. "This was the beginning of several months of research. In the end, I had to get birth and death certificates. But the Michigan DAR people know how to get all of this documentation."

Smeltzer-Rowley suggested that anyone interested in the workshop should bring as much information about their ancestry with them as possible to give the state researchers a head start. This could include any family paperwork or even notes in family Bibles.

Two genealogy specialists from the Michigan DAR will be at the event with access to extended databases.

For more information, call Karen at (936) 662-7809.