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INTERVIEW: Genealogist Sarah Gutman On "Kiss Me Iím Irish: How To Research Your Irish Ancestry" And More

T.J. Clemente

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The Sag Harbor Historical Society and John Jermain Library's Kiss Me I'm Irish: How to Research Your Irish Ancestry will take place via Zoom. (Courtesy Photo)

For the second year in a row, Genealogist Sarah Gutman is teaming up with the John Jermain Library to host an event focusing on researching one's Irish ancestry. Kiss Me I'm Irish: How to Research Your Irish Ancestry, presented in collaboration with Sag Harbor Historical Society, will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.

In a talk with Gutman, she explained, "Last year, we were going to do it in person but actually ended up doing it on Zoom, which was great for me. It will be Zooming again this year." Gutman has been involved with genealogy for a long time. She noted, "I started when I was 13-years-old [25 years ago]. It was a hidden hobby that I kept from my friends. I haven't stopped since. I started my own company, The Family Tree Climber, five years ago, and I also work for the largest genealogy and top rated firm in the world [Legacy Tree]."

Last year, Gutman did about 70 presentations at libraries and gave talks, but on a variety of different topics. Originally from Putnam County, NY, she now lives in Sound Beach, by Miller's Place on Long Island.

Starting 25 years ago, pre-internet and Google, Gutman shared how she originally did her research. "I used to beg my parents to take me to Yonkers Library and White Plains Library. I used to take dramamine before I used to look at the microfilm to prevent myself from getting nauseous," she said. "I would also have my folks take me to cemeteries. I racked up hefty phone bills because I would call long distance collect and ask the operators to give me the numbers for the churches in certain areas - because they weren't in the Yellow Pages."

Kiss Me I'm Irish: How to Research Your Irish Ancestry, according to Gutman, will be like a classroom. "I used to be a classroom teacher, so this is part of teaching. It is mostly a lecture style format, but my whole thing is you are there for you and people are completely welcome to unmute themselves and ask a question. They also always put things in chat, and I always provide my email for people who want to ask a question, but don't want to take up the class time."

When asked about her most surprising finding, she relayed, "It has to do with my grandpa, because my grandfather had always been told that his dad was born in Yonkers. One day I discovered online that was misrepresented and that he was actually from Italy. I told my grandpa, I thought it was a cool find, but he started crying. I felt bad I upset this 80-year-old man, because he thought his father had lied to him his whole life."

To find out the truth about your family tree or how genealogy works, make sure to check out Kiss Me I'm Irish: How to Research Your Irish Ancestry. There is no fee to attend.

To learn more, or sign up, visit www.sagharborhistorical.org.

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Guest (louise m lantelme) from new york says::
my mother was an orphan. i know very little about her parents who died in 1918 due to the pandemic. she was 12 years old when they died. raised by nuns. all i know is they were from dublin.
Mar 9, 2021 5:39 am


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