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: