Dr. Penny Walters

Dr. Penny Walters

Dr. Penny Walters has been a University lecturer for 30 years teaching Undergraduate and Masters Psychology and Business Studies. Penny was adopted at birth, and recent DNA testing revealed 94% Irish heritage, which supports her paper trail and collaboration with 2 American 2nd cousin DNA matches. Penny is the mother of 6 mixed race children, and DNA testing revealed fascinating insights into her children's cultural heritage. Having researched her 2 family trees for 30 years, Penny lectures internationally, hosts webinars and writes articles about genealogy topics, including: ethical dilemmas in genealogy; mixing DNA results with a paper trail; adoption; black British heritage; ethnicity and identity; diaspora; Irish heritage; the 1939 Register; communication skills; delivering unexpected or bad news to clients; and today’s talk - the psychology of searching. Penny has recently published her books 'Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy,' and ‘The Psychology of Searching,’ available on Amazon in paperback or kindle. www.searchmypast.co.uk


August 1, 2020 - LIVE WEBINAR!

Register at OCCGSwalters

10:15 AM - The Psychology of Searching

Dr Penny Walters, author of 'The Psychology of Searching' (Amazon, 2020) explains that family history research and compiling pedigrees was historically needed for landed gentry, but is now a popular hobby. Why the sudden interest? This session will look at psychological explanations as to why we are interested in our family tree and our ancestors’ pasts. We will look at the psychology of contextualising ourselves, tribal territoriality, kinship, experiencing genealogical voids from separation, the notion of homelands, romanticised heritages, cultural dejavu, race memory, and inherited trauma. How do we develop an apparently seamless narrative based on fragmented information we have gleaned from various sources? Why do we eagerly research ancestors we share so little DNA with, and feel less connection to 2nd cousins? Has social media made us lonely, and we hoard people? How many people do you interact with on your tree? Does your personality influence your interest in compiling your family tree? Is it all a type of jigsaw puzzle connecting these people? Are we searching for who they were, or who we are? www.searchmypast.co.uk

11:15 AM - Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy

'I'm just compiling our family tree, what possible problems could there be?' Researching and devising a family tree traditionally involved asking relatives about their lives, devising a tree and undertaking a paper trail. However, it now involves finding previously inaccessible records and dealing with others via the internet, who are strangers that you will perhaps never meet. Ethical dilemmas in genealogy have come to the forefront recently since law enforcement utilised information from GEDMatch to apprehend a suspected serial killer. This created a division in the genealogy field about invasion of privacy. However, other ethical dilemmas may be closer to home. Have you asked any family members if it's ok to include them on your tree? Ethical dilemmas unfolding include discovering secrets, lies, bigamy, enslavement, criminality, unexpected DNA relatives, unexpected ethnicities, relatives that aren’t now related, injustices; and a 'netiquette' involved with approaching online matches has developed. People can now study accredited courses and join professional bodies which have regulations, Codes of Conduct, responsibilities, accountability and require CPD, but without individual ethical awareness can genealogy keep up? Attendees will benefit from considering ethical issues with more empathy and sensitivity.


Handouts, when available, will be in Member's Only on the Speaker Handouts page.


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Saturday March 6, 2021
BASH 2021 with
Michael L. Strauss, AG

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Orange County California Genealogical Society
c/o Huntington Beach Central Library
7111 Talbert Avenue
Huntington Beach, California 92648

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