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Professor to speak on the psychology behind genealogy

WHITTIER — Dr. Penny Walters, a psychology and business studies university lecturer in the UK, will be the guest speaker of the Whittier Area Genealogical Society’s meeting this Saturday, Aug. 15.

The meeting, which will be held via Zoom, starts with a half-hour social at 12:30 p.m. followed by a general meeting and speaker at 1 p.m.

Penny lectures internationally and writes articles about a variety of genealogy topics. She is the author of “Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy” and “The Psychology of Searching,” both available on Amazon.

This session will look at psychological explanations as to why we are interested in our family tree and our ancestors’ pasts. The group will look at the psychology of contextualizing ourselves, tribal territoriality, kinship, experiencing genealogical voids from separation, the notion of homelands, romanticized heritages, cultural déjà vu, 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 second 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?

To attend Saturday’s meeting, email program@wagswhittier.org and a Zoom invitation will be sent to you.

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