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July 15, 2011

Renowned Genealogist Shows Virginians How to Find Their Ancestors

Genealogist Char McCargo Bah shares her techniques of ancestry research, teaching guests how to trace family history on Saturday, July 23 at Bruton Heights School.

In “Going from the Known to Unknown: Starting Your Genealogical Search,” Bah uses a case study to explore the use of oral histories, vital statistics, and various records to discover family origins and history.

After learning the key techniques of genealogical research, guests can gain hands-on experience examining documents in the second part of the program – “A Close Look at Virginia’s Genealogical Documents.” The workshop gives participants the opportunity to use actual records to test their acquired skills in locating information and finding details from a variety of data and statistics.

The program starts at 3 p.m. followed by the workshop at 4:30 p.m., with each approximately 45 minutes in length. Both events are free, but free tickets are required for the workshop.

Bah is a native of Alexandria, Va., and has been engaged in genealogical research since 1981 and is currently enrolled in a professional genealogy program at the University of Toronto. She specializes in navigating the special challenges of tracing the history of African American families. She created a permanent genealogical exhibit for the Ellis Island Museum in New York and her work has been featured in a number of magazines and publications, including the books “Everyday Grace, Everyday Miracle” and the forthcoming “Eyewitness to America: Virginia WPA Slave Narratives.” Bah has lectured throughout the eastern United States and appeared on several radio and television programs including the PBS series “The History Detectives.”

Colonial Williamsburg’s African American programming is made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Philip Morris, IBM and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121