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Genealogical Research in Channel Islands & Isle of Man

MONROE — McKenna Cooper and Dan Poffenberger will be guest speakers at the BIGWILL virtual “extended” meeting from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 via Zoom. 

In two presentations, Cooper and Poffenberger will discuss key aspects of researching The Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Check for Zoom meeting link.

The British Interest Group of Wisconsin & Illinois (BIGWILL) is a special interest group for those who wish to research family history and ancestry in the British Isles. Visitors as well as members are always welcome to attend meetings, held the third Saturday in January, March, May, July, September and November, currently in Zoom meetings only.

Cooper is a research specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is accredited in Scotland research. Her interest in the Channel Islands stems from a summer spent doing anthropological research on Guernsey’s culture and native language (Guernésiais, aka Guernsey French). She will graduate in June from the University of Strathclyde with an MSc in Genealogical, Paleographic, and Heraldic Studies.

Dan Poffenberger, AG, is a Senior British and Irish research specialist for FamilySearch at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is accredited in England research and is currently on his accreditation in Ireland research. His interest in Isle of Man research comes from his son-in-law, whose paternal second great grandfather, George Caine, was born on the Isle of Man. He presented at BIGWILL last year as well as numerous conferences nationally and internationally.

Meeting Schedule:

●  Cooper from 10-11:30 am

The Channel Islands preserved their Norman culture much later than the rest of England, including speaking island-specific variations of the Norman French language up until WWII, though these dialects were rarely written down. As a result, records used for genealogy from the Channel Islands often include a mix of French and English, and traditional surnames generally have their origins in Normandy. Come learn how to research your ancestors who are from the Channel Islands. 

●  Lunch break from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

●  Poffenberger from 12:30-2 p.m.

The Isle of Man sits in the middle of the Irish Sea surrounded by much larger neighbors on all sides, Scotland to the north, England to the East, Wales to the South and Ireland to the west. Considering this, it has its own fascinating history and relative autonomy through history. This includes records used for genealogical research and research strategy.