Thanks to my father’s meticulous research, I have documentation that proves I’m a ninth-generation Tennessean.

My father got interested in researching our family history in the mid-’80s by assisting my brother with a high school project. My brother’s research ended after he submitted his project (he earned an A!), but my father’s research is still going strong 25 years later.

It’s fascinating to hear my father talk about our family heritage and show me the results of his many hours of research, which qualified our family for inclusion in a special program by the East Tennessee Historical Society. The First Families of Tennessee program honors the state’s first residents and identifies their descendants.

Tracing your family’s history can be such a rewarding experience, and I wanted to share news about an upcoming opportunity for you to research your own family history.

UT Professional & Personal Development is hosting a non-credit course, “Tracing Your Family History,” beginning March 17 at Westminster Presbyterian Church (McKinnon Room), 6500 Northshore Dr., in Knoxville.

The course fee is $115 and includes a manual; online registration is available.

By learning the basics of genealogical research, you can complete a family history that can be passed on to your children and grandchildren.

Through lectures, hands-on exercises, and field trips to local libraries, you’ll learn how to trace your ancestors back at least four generations and how to organize and present your findings.

Instructor Marlene Thomas has been a genealogist for more than 25 years and compiled three family histories.

Darrin Devault, UT Professional & Personal Development

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