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Family ancestry research soared in pandemic

Headquarters of the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard (File photograph)

Interest in tracing family ancestry soared during the pandemic, according to the National Museum of Bermuda.

The museum’s online genealogy database was used more than ever in 2020, prompting the launch of the 2021 series “Tracing Their Roots/Routes”.

It will be the topic of a presentation moderated on Thursday by Lisa Howie, the NMB director of learning and engagement as part of the Museums Association of the Caribbean annual conference from Wednesday through Friday.

In a statement, the NMB said that interest in genealogy “accelerated as people looked for new ways to connect with their family and their past”.

Ms Howie will appear in the virtual conference 11am to 12.15pm with Deborah Atwood, the NMB curator and Janet Ferguson, the education committee chairwoman.

They will be joined by the Bermudian artist Gherdai Hassell; Louise Tannock, a teacher at Somersfield Academy, and Mandellas Lightbourne of the Bermuda Archives.

NMB provided free virtual presentations, workshops, and tool kits this year to share tips on researching family history.

The museum collaborated with the Bermuda National Library as well as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC to “help participants learn effective, sensitive research methods, chart their family history, and develop creative strategies to share their story”.

The theme of this year’s MAC conference is "Cultivating Resilience in Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites."

In more than 15 concurrent sessions, museum professionals, including curators, educators, scholars, and researchers, are uniting to discuss themes related to historical sites, indigenous peoples, and social justice.

More than 15 countries are taking part including St Maarten, Bermuda, Bahamas, Panama, Haiti, St. Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, United States, and the Netherlands.

The MAC board president, Joanne Hyppolite, said the conference was “really important for our region because we come from smaller nations that don't have museum training programmes like the bigger countries”.

Registration for the conference is online at the MAC site.

The conference will be shown online via social media at Facebook and Twitter.

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Published November 02, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated November 02, 2021 at 7:38 am)

Family ancestry research soared in pandemic

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