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VuClass II Workshops: “Introduction to Genealogy” and “Knitting 101”

Falvey Memorial Library will be offering two free workshops on Friday, March 7 as part of the VuClass series of events!VUCLASS-LOGO-2

Ruth Martin, PhD, Heritage Report, will be leading an “Introduction to Genealogy” workshop in the Griffin Room on the first floor from 9:00-11:30 a.m. Later that day, Annie Brogan, MLIS, college librarian, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, will be teaching a “Knitting 101” workshop from 2:00-4:30 p.m. in the Speakers’ Corner on the first floor. Both classes are free to attend; however, the instructor of the knitting class, Annie Brogan, urges attendees to bring supplies to her class in the afternoon and recommends worsted weight wool or wool blend yarn and size 7 or 8 needles. (Please note: if you don’t have these items on-hand, beginner packages that attendees may keep will be available for $4.00).

Dave Uspal, senior web specialist for library services and scholarly applications, spearheaded the planning of the workshops. As Falvey prepares to sponsor this second set of workshops in the VuClass series, Uspal says, “VuClass is our experimental program where we offer classes and lectures to the library community free of charge. With an eye on open libraries and open access, the purpose of the experiment is to see if we’re able to offer interesting and quality lectures and classes to the public without a paywall or barrier between knowledge and accessibility. The program intentionally has a wide variety of subjects as we try to cover the knowledge and talent of the community and offer a spectrum of interesting subjects.” All are welcome to register for the VuClass II workshops!

Regina Duffy, library events and program coordinator for the scholarly outreach team, recently interviewed both VuClass II workshop leaders, Ruth Martin and Annie Brogan.

Interview with Ruth Martin

Ruth MartinRD-Could we have a little bit of background information about you?

RM-I have a BA in History and a PhD in Sociology. I taught college for many years and then left to start a business, Heritage Reports, researching and writing full-length, illustrated family histories for my clients. I’m also an intern this semester with the Villanova Digital Library.

RD-Can you tell us what first got you interested in the study Genealogy?

RM -Like most, I first became interested through exploring my own family’s history. For years, we had many unanswered questions about our family history. Over the last ten years, the availability of digitized material online has allowed us to answer many of those questions, and raised new ones—hence, my interest in Villanova’s Digital Library project.

RD-What do you hope for attendees to learn at the Genealogy workshop?

RM –I would like them to leave with an understanding of the logic of genealogical research and also with a good understanding of how to conduct that research online and how to locate the additional resources they will need as their research progresses. Attendees will have the opportunity during the workshop to apply these tools to their own family trees.

RD-Do you think that there are any helpful (and free) tools that could aid to those beginning to study their family lineage?

RM –Quite a few, some of which we will address in the workshop. is an excellent resource with many freely accessible digitized documents (although some search results will lead to for-pay sites). The library edition of is available for use without a fee in many libraries (including Villanova’s). is available for use at many public libraries (and users with a public library card can sometimes access it from home). Local historical societies and vital records offices are also important sources of genealogical data and users can usually gain access for free or for a nominal fee.

RD-What are your other areas of interest besides Genealogy?

RM-We recently moved into a new home, so unpacking is my other main interest at the moment.  I also enjoy running and inline skating (in the alternate universe where it is warm and there is no snow).

Interview with Annie Brogan

Annie Brogan-1RD- Could we have a little bit of background information about you?

AB- I’m a librarian of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

RD- Can you tell us what got you interested in knitting?

AB- I’m not terribly crafty, despite wanting to be crafty. I’ve tried many things, and this was the one that happened to stick, mostly because I was pretty good at it right away. Ha!

RD-How did you learn to knit? Was it easy for you to master the art of knitting?

 AB-I learned to knit at my local yarn store, Loop, which is the greatest. I took to it relatively easily, but I would not say I’m a master, although I do love to knit complicated lace patterns.

RD-What do you hope for attendees to learn at the knitting workshop?

AB- This is truly a beginners’ workshop. I want attendees to feel confident with the basics—casting on, knitting, and purling—and leave with the ability to make themselves a scarf, or at least a potholder!

RD-Do you think that there are any good tutorials out there that could help beginner knitters?

AB-There are so many great tutorials to choose from on You Tube. The one resource I go back to again and again, though, is, which has videos for English and continental knitters. I’m a continental knitter, which I think is much easier.

RD-What are your other areas of interest besides knitting?

AB-I am a certified yoga instructor and teach a weekly vinyasa class as well as practice yoga as much as possible. I read constantly, which I suppose is no surprise, being a librarian. I also have a rescue mutt named Scarlet who I like to show off as much as possible.


Please join Ruth and Annie this Friday for our VuClass II workshops! Registration is capped at 30 for the genealogy session and 20 for the knitting session, so register now at!



1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Adam Murphy — August 9, 2014 @ 10:03 PM

    Might be useful for your research – just updated a database of all county clerks in the USA. 🙂 County Clerks Records

    Cheers, -Adam

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Last Modified: March 6, 2014

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