Finding Your Identity

One of the most important things people look for is belonging. Who do you belong to? What are the characteristics you share with your family?

Identity can mean different things to different people. Maybe it’s your eye color. Maybe it’s your temperament, the way you walk or talk, the foods you like or don’t like, or even what you’re allergic to. Whatever it is, you likely got it from someone somewhere in your family tree.

One of my friends found out she and her children suffered from celiac disease. When her daughter traveled to Scandinavia and got sick, she learned it was very common there. It just so happened that’s exactly where her family roots were. She researched her family for years but never knew her family connection to this disease.

Get Started

vintage family photos on wooden backgroundSome people wonder where they got their facial features from or maybe don’t know what country their family came from to get to America. That’s where DNA, family history research and genealogy come in. The study of your family and the history that goes with your life experiences help to shape your identity. It tells you who you are in a broader sense. In a way that helps you find your place in the world. DNA is the scientific proof that you belong to a particular group of people.

Use the Golden Rule of genealogy research to get started. Write down what you know and find out what your immediate family knows about your family. Who are all the people connected to your family and what do they know? The stories you learn are deeply enriched with clues to help you continue the research incrementally backwards. You will then be able to answer the questions that help you to explore your identity!

Free Virtual Conference

To help you find your identity the library has regular monthly classes and programs. This year, we have also partnered with multiple organizations to put together a free virtual conference to help you discover your identity. We call it the Identity Quest!

On Sat, Nov 14, 2020, the library and our genealogy partners will host Kenyatta Berry and Brett Bettinger in our first ever free Identity Quest Virtual Conference. Come find out how to research your identity through DNA, family history and genealogy. Find out more and register.

Sherri Camp

As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! I work to promote a greater knowledge of family, history, and heritage.