Genealogy documentation taught in Chelsea

By TONY NIVENS / Community Columnist

“I hope to teach our historical society members to use the proper genealogy worksheets with solid research,” said Jenny Bartlett, historian for the Chelsea AL Historical Society. “There are a lot of genealogy research shortcut websites that don’t require parentage proofs. They often have inaccuracies that get spread. With official worksheets it is easier to accurately record your heritage if you want to apply for the DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution), SAR or an elite society like that.”

Bartlett was speaking at the Chelsea AL Historical Society’s January quarterly meeting about the “Genealogy Guide Sheet” from the National Archives and the Alabama Genealogical Society.

Jenny Bartlett (seated) is introduced to teach Genealogy Documentation to attendees of the January Quarterly Meeting of the Chelsea AL Historical Society. (Contributed)

“We covered the requirements for documenting genealogy used by these and a lot of historical societies, including the Board for Certification of Genealogy in Washington, D.C,” said Bartlett. “The DAR and SAR sheet looks exactly like this one too. So does the Shelby County one (which we hope to eventually emulate for Chelsea’s Founding Families). The forms are not interchangeable, but they all use the same guidelines.”

“Applications to these societies must have the worksheets completed and include your proofs of each generation of ancestors. When the applications are accepted, they are kept on file to preserve your family history for future generations.”

This is the same worksheet Bartlett had to use to earn her way into the DAR.

“I also use this form to complete a family survey for the people buried in an area cemetery when we are planning a local ‘Walking Tour of Chelsea History,’” she continued. “So we are already documenting a lot of the genealogies for our Chelsea ancestors. We plan to make these worksheets available through the Historical Society at the Crane Home/Museum.”

“I can’t wait to have access to the Crain Home,” Bartlett smiled. “We already have genealogies for Quinn, Mt. Calvary, Pleasant Valley, and are working on Union Methodist Cemetery now. We plan Union as our next ‘Walking Tour of Chelsea History’ in the spring and we need more people to help us research and present.”

“With the Walking Tours we are working around all of the smaller communities that fed into Chelsea. We started with Liberty community at its old Quinn Cemetery and will probably end with the Liberty Cemetery. We hope anyone who wants their community, church, or family included will contact us and help share their story.”

“My husband, Steve, and I are amazed at the work already completed by Jenny,” said Kristi Talia Sayers, principal at Oak Mountain High School, candidate for superintendent of Shelby County Schools, and first time visitor.

Sayers said her husband had always been interested in history.

“We found your meeting post on Facebook and wanted to check it out. We enjoyed Jenny’s presentation, and we’re really impressed with your work.”

“There is a lot more work to do for the museum, and we need more volunteers,” said Bartlett, “But I am excited about this research and other information we can share with the community.”