November 24, 2017

Christy Wiggins | Movers & Shakers 2006

Genuine Genealogist

‘Genealogy is intensely personal,’ says Christy Wiggins. Her work serving genealogists, ‘the third most popular U.S. hobby and the second most searched topic online,’ is personal, too. ‘When a person returns to thank me because a piece of advice I provided led to a discovery…a life has been touched.’

Wiggins sees an incredible ‘symbiosis between the genealogy community and the public library’ [since] ‘networking with local groups is pivotal to our success.’ Dick Rose, of the Greater Cleveland Genealogical Society, says Wiggins’s ‘devotion to the genealogy community has been superior.’ Genealogical groups hold both regular meetings and annual conferences at her library; Wiggins is library liaison to two chapters. She gives free genealogy presentations to groups and organizations, highlighting the library’s collections, online resources, and ways to begin. ‘Given my initial fear of public speaking,’ says Wiggins, ‘I am still amazed I am able to motivate people with my words.’

Wiggins reaches out in other ways, as well, providing genealogy assistance to Know It Now, Ohio’s statewide virtual reference initiative. She also cofacilitates a nontraditional book discussion group for twenty- to thirtysomethings, reintroducing the library to these postcollege but prekids users and ‘creating the habits of lifelong use.’

Hearing people ‘lament the questions left unasked and the stories unrecorded,’ Wiggins devotes personal energy to ‘preemptive genealogy: telling one’s own stories in order to prevent future relatives from botching the narrative.’

Vitals

Current Position Regional Reference Specialist, Genealogy, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH
Degrees MLIS, Kent State University, 1998
True Confession ‘I occasionally misspell genealogy’

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