by Beverly Baker

Get your motor running…
Head out on the highway…
Looking for adventure…
In whatever comes our way”

‘Born to be Wild’ by Steppenwolf

Lela Craft, Selmah Bowen, Bonnie Baker, a JSC potential member, and I visited Washington DC August 1-5.  Early on the morning of Sunday July 31, the four of us rolled out of Atlanta toward Washington D.C.  Lela and I had signed up for a Genealogy Consultant class at DAR Headquarters August 1-4, and Selmah and Bonnie came along to site-see and do some research.

The Genealogy Consultants class material and lectures focused on the application process, and there was much to learn over the four days.  There were about 40 attendees, and there were 11 there from the state of Georgia.  The one thing I learned that I really appreciated is the ‘marks’ the staff genealogists make on our applications. I never really knew what all those check marks, parentheses, and comments meant. It helped to have them explained.

On Wednesday, back in class, Lela and I were pleasantly surprised when the President General, Merry Ann Wright, came to our meeting and spoke to us for a few minutes. What a delight to meet her.  That same afternoon I met personally with Thomas Ragussin, one of the staff genealogists, to discuss one of my supplemental applications that was denied about one year ago.  I brought some additional research with me and he approved it on the spot!

For lunch everyday we walked across the street to either the Department of Interior, or to the Red Cross Building. Both had lunchrooms and the food was pretty good and fairly priced.

We spent time in the DAR Library and at the Seimes Technology Center.  The Seimes Technolgy center is part of the DAR Library and has about 20 computers stations set up for research.  What a GREAT place to do research! Not only did we have access to multiple genealogy databases (HeritageQuest, Ancestry Library edition, Accessible Archives, New England Historical and Genealogical Society databases, and Early American Periodicals), but we could view all DAR Member applications!  This worked out great when we were trying to determine which application to purchase ($10) to help with a new or supplemental application.

On the last day of class Lela and I were presented with a certificate of completion.  We also participated in a goodbye party with the entire genealogy department. It was a delightful farewell to the week.

The DAR Genealogy department will be conducting one more class this year in October. Starting in January there will be an on-line class designed to take the place of this face-to-face class.  It will be highly interactive and will be narrated. There will also be live Discussion Boards (at least that is how I understood it) so you can ask questions etc. while you are taking the online class.  I believe you have 3 months to complete the class once you start it.  We enjoyed this class, the people we met, visiting the DAR Store, DAR Museum Store, including the tours around the DAR Headquarters buildings.

While Lela and I attended class, Bonnie and Selmah were touring Washington D.C.  They toured historical sites, rode trolleys, got caught in the rain, walked and walked and walked, and hailed taxis!  On Tuesday evening, Lela and Beverly joined them for a twilight tour of the Washington monuments.  The monuments are stunning to view at nighttime.

On Thursday, while Lela and Beverly completed their last day of class, Bonnie and Selmah rested at the DAR Library doing research.

On Friday the four of us took a taxi to the Colonial Dames XVII Century Headquarters building. Bea guided us through the dwelling and we met a few of the employees. We briefly met Stephen Buski, but he was busy working on applications and didn’t want his picture taken. Bea took us up to the Coat of Arms room. It was delightful to see all of the framed Coat of Arms! We also visited the Georgia Room. The Georgia room is sponsored by the state of Georgia Colonial Dames XVII Century and is used by the President General Jan Lockard when she visits headquarters.

About noon on Friday, while Lela kicked back at the hotel, Beverly, Selmah, and Bonnie took a bus tour to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington.  It was quite enjoyable.  I didn’t know that Mount Vernon was privately owned!  The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association purchased Mount Vernon in 1858. The Association has never accepted federal or state funding for support of the property.  Their mission is to educate the world about the life, character, leadership and legacies of George Washington. The property is beautifully maintained and managed and it was a fitting end to our week in Washington D.C.

On Saturday we left Washington about 7AM.  We all talked about our week and stopped along the way to buy peaches and chow-chow.  It was a great week and I had a wonderful time with Selmah, Lela and Bonnie.