Going Down the Rabbit Hole: A Cautionary Tale!

Presented by Claire Smith-Burns

60-Minute Bonus Track

It is easy and tempting to jump to conclusions when tracing your family tree. Claire Smith-Burns will take you on a research romp following a very promising lead but with a surprising conclusion. The talk revolves around her 4th great-grandfather, Michael WALLACE (c. 1747- 1831), Treasurer and Acting Governor of the Colony of Nova Scotia and a United Empire Loyalist.

Hon. Michael Wallace was born in Scotland and was sent to Virginia in 1771 to manage the trading ventures for the partners of John Wallace & Company. His life is well documented in North America but virtually nothing was known about his Scottish ancestry. Michael Wallace also had two known brothers living in Savannah, Georgia. Careful research pointed to a third brother in Savannah – following this supposed third brother’s life revealed a tantalizing clue to these men’s Scottish ancestry.

Claire Smith-Burns will take the class through each step of the research process to find the proof she needed to prove or disprove her theory of the Wallace brothers’ parentage. In the process, the class will learn about the critical analysis of records, avoiding “confirmation bias,” reliability of secondary sources and brick wall strategies, as well as a lesson in history.