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Faces of NextGen: Meet Madam Ancestry

Madam Ancestry, Georgia

What five words would you use to describe yourself? Family-oriented, Inquisitive,Determined,Humorous and Committed

 Why genealogy?

Why not genealogy?! There’s always something exciting to be discovered when doing genealogy. I will never understand how people can spend so much time following other families but don’t know anything about their own family. Genealogy is the story of what makes you who you are! I aim to learn everything I can learn about my story and strive to keep family history alive.

 What’s the coolest discovery you’ve made?

Every time I make a discovery I think it’s the coolest! BUT…if I had to pick just one…I’d say it’s discovering the story of my 2x Great Grandfather. I went from not knowing his name, to discovering a fascinating chain of events surrounding him murdering his wife! He spent the rest of his days in prison and (according to newspaper sources) is buried on the prison grounds. His story was very shocking and unfortunate, and would also make a very good screenplay! I was able to obtain a copy of his prison ledger from the early 1900’s and that was definitely a surreal feeling. Everything was there except his mugshot, so I’m still on the hunt for that!

 What are you working on this week?

Preparing to resume client work and working on new features for my blog

What’s the number one secret to your success in genealogy?

Simply sticking with it. All the answers may not be found in one day or one year. We’re all eager to find answers but you come to a point where you realize finding those answers takes time. It’s ok to take a break sometimes and regroup. I’ve had moments where I’ve hit a brick wall with one ancestor, so I took a break from that one and focused on another instead, or I’ll go back and review the things I’ve researched. And it’s always beneficial to keep learning along the way – workshops, webinars, lectures, ask questions, and don’t forget to follow others in the genealogy community. No matter how much we know we can always gain new insight and inspiration from these resources.

 What superpower would you want to help you uncover your family history?

 Can I have two?

  1. Time travel, because I love the thought of just randomly popping in on ancestors at any given time like “Hey, I’m your family from the future! You may as well tell me what’s going on now because I’ll find out anyway through countless hours of research and DNA testing!”


  1. I would be the person who somehow saves the 1890 Census!

*Genealogy world erupts in a thunderous applause*

What are we most likely to find you doing when you’re not researching family history?

When I’m not doing family research, I’m still doing family things. Most things that I love, I love to do with them. What can I say? Family is my lifeline. Periodically I escape to write, try out new recipes, or rock a karaoke session (smile)! I love to laugh and enjoy life with the people I love.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to urge people to get involved in their family history now. It’s important to ask questions while you have relatives who are still here to give you the information. Also, never throw out family history; this includes pictures, personal papers, family heirlooms, etc. Those things may not mean anything to you at this moment but may be the key to answering family questions down the line. If you don’t want the items or don’t know what to do with them, contact me and I’ll help you find a safe place to preserve them.

Find Madam Ancestry online at

The NextGen Genealogy Network is made up of young genealogists with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Faces of NextGen showcases a different member of our community each month. If you would like to be considered for an upcoming feature, simply complete our questionnaire and submit a selfie.



Faces of NextGen LIVE! Meet Christine Woodcock

The NextGen Genealogy Network’s Faces of NextGen LIVE! is a popular feature hosted by Education Coordinator Eric Wells. In this recorded interview, get to know Christine Woodcock!

Want to say hello to your fellow young genealogists during a fun and informal interview with Eric? Let us know at

Don’t forget to bookmark our YouTube Channel to keep up with the latest on Faces of NextGen LIVE!



Meet your NextGen Leadership Team – Beth Wylie

Name: Beth Wylie      
A lady never reveals her true age…40 something…
: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

What is your role at The NextGen Genealogy Network? Secretary of the Leadership Team is my official title. I help out with graphic creation, promoting events on social media, anything that is asked.  We are great about supporting each other as we all do this voluntarily between the spaces of our busy lives.


How did you hear about NextGen? I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled upon it, but when I learned about the organization, I immediately emailed about coordinating a meet up! I was so excited to find kindred spirits in my general age group. Melanie Frick was the first person that reached out, and I am very thankful that she did! I wish this group had existed when I was in my 20’s. 


When did you first get interested in genealogy? My paternal grandmother was an amateur genealogist. I remember going to a Warner Brown family reunion in Union County, Arkansas when I was a small child, seeing all the boards with family photos.  I inherited her manila envelopes full of her Goode and Goodwin records. She was also a proud member of DAR, so in my early 30’s I joined through her line.  Additionally, I majored in history in college. Researching the past seems to have always been an important part of my life.


Do you have a specific area of expertise or interest? I don’t profess to be an expert in any particular area, but I do have a great deal of interest in Southern ancestry, migration patterns, etc. My roots are deeply Southern, for better or worse. Being Southern is a contradiction of emotions for me. I have explored these feelings some in my blog, Another area I have developed a recent interest in is oral history research. I hope to learn more about this in an upcoming webinar series with Baylor’s Institute of Oral History. People’s lives are what make family history so interesting. Knowing how to interview people, and capture their stories before they are lost, is something I think will make me a better genealogist.


What is your favorite type of genealogical record? Any record that has a family name on it?That’s such a difficult question to answer! Some ancestors don’t want to give up their secrets, so for them any record I can find is my favorite. Death certificates are a personal favorite as I am always curious to know how people died.  I love finding a lengthy obituary or book that may tell more about them as a person. I have paid a small fortune for a rare out of print book that had a whole section on my Garrison ancestors! Worth every penny.


If you could meet any ancestor, who would it be? I. Cannot. Pick. One. Peter Garrison, my 3rd great grandfather, because I know the most about him and feel like I know him. Prudence Patterson Hall, because she was supposedly a spy in a petticoat during the Revolution. My great grandmother Igou, because she got a divorce at a time when it was very rare and let her ex-husband and his family raise her first child. There’s a painful story there I want to know more about. I could go on…


Are you involved in any local societies/organizations? I am on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society. It has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to increasing our younger membership.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new genealogist? Take your time. Whether learning the foundations of good research, or actually researching your own family. Take your time to make sure you have verified sources, dates, etc. And, if you hit a brick wall, step away, knowing it may not be a brick wall forever. A distant cousin once told me that our ancestors will reveal themselves when they want to be found. I have always tried to think of it that way when I reach a point I can’t go any further. Time and distance often give me a fresh perspective when I return to the search.


Do you plan on becoming a Certified or Accredited Genealogist in the future? When my children are a little older and more independent, I plan to complete the Boston University Certificate Program in Genealogical Research. 


Where can we find you online? (FB/Instagram/website/email etc) Facebook: Life in the Past Lane, Twitter @BGWylie, Blog:


NextGen In Action!

The NextGen Genealogy Network is excited to launch our latest initiative – NextGen In Action!

We want to see photos of young genealogists like yourselves in action – researching at a repository, visiting the cemeteries, at genealogical conferences – you name it!

Snap a photo of yourself holding the ‘I am NextGen’ sign or wearing some NextGen merchandise (found at our Zazzle store).

Post it any of our social media sites using the hashtag #nextgeninaction, or email us at Once a month, all your NextGen in action photos will be posted on our blog.

Below are a couple of examples from our leadership team









Find us on
Twitter – @NextGenNetwrk
Instagram – @nextgennetwrk
Facebook – @Nextgennetwrk

We can’t wait to see you all in action!