Monday, September 8, 2014

Interview #6- Renee Hague, Genealogy and History

 Background:

 Before I married my husband, I started working in the public library in my hometown. While working there, I had the very great pleasure of working with Mrs. Renee Hague. She is hilarious, chic, and super knowledgeable about her work. I have always found genealogy fascinating (I blame my mother lol) and seeing the passion that Mrs. Hague and her counterpart, Mrs. Sherry, have for this subject is amazing and mind-blowing. I wanted to interview Mrs. Hague because she's someone you just can't help but love and she knows her stuff. I was also inspired by the t.v. show "Who Do You Think You Are?" which helps celebrities trace their ancestry using ancestry.com plus professionals in the field all over the world. After watching this show, I was very excited about interviewing someone in the genealogy field and immediately thought of Renee Hague- who always dresses very fashionably. 

The Interview!

1. Tell me 6 things about yourself.

I  love  my work and continue to learn new things each day.   
- I’m happily married To Doug Hague( 35 years)  and have three grown children who are my pride and joy.  Joseph is a composer living in Oakland, CA; Laura teaches Special Education in Daphne, AL; and Nelson lives in Quito, Ecuador and is starting a Wellness business (certified massage therapist) there and also has a certification for teaching English as a second language.  
- I play flute, recorder, ukulele, Indian drums and rattles,  and collect instruments.

- My degrees are in English and Combined arts therapy and I’ve found a way to apply my college education  to my job at the library.  

- India, Greece and Israel are among my favorite countries and I’ve traveled there!

- My favorite poets are Rumi and William Blake and I have a file on my computer with my favorite  100 books.

2. How long have you been working in genealogy?

I’ve been working in genealogy and local history for 13 years,  and my grandmother, Archie Gautier,  started training me for the job when I was a child.   She worked as curator of the “Old Spanish Fort” for over 30 years and I help take care of her archive collection today!

3. What is the most interesting thing about genealogy? 

The interconnectedness of people and things amazes me.  I get goosebumps at work  on a daily basis because of random coincidences (or are they?).

4. What's the hardest part about genealogy?

For me, the hardest part of genealogy is citing sources, because I get so excited about finding things and forget to write down  the source in my eagerness to find the next thing!  Citing sources has to be one of the most important tasks of a genealogist. (Check out Richard Lackey’s book on the subject).

5. Have you traced back your genealogy? Are you related to anyone famous or interesting?

Yes, I’m working on  75 family lines and I find most of my ancestors are interesting.  My Indian ancestors are who I am most interested in now. While they are usually the hardest to document, I’m lucky to have found some of them in the records.  A couple of them married  Frenchmen who  helped found the Gulf Coast.  

6. For beginners,  what are some tips for tracing your genealogy?

Do your homework before you begin your research online or at the library.  Interview your family and get the names of people and the places where they were, as well as dates.  Write all of this down in an organized fashion (family group sheets, etc…) and be sure and cite your sources.  When you begin in earnest, it will be easier to find the documents if you’ve done your homework.

7. Can you tell me about genealogy. General or specific things.

When I first started working in this department,  I found it creepy to be looking up obituaries on a daily basis.   Sherry Owens,  one of my first teachers, taught me to look at the obit as a life span of a person (as opposed to a death).  That clicked and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Once you have dates, names and places….it’s time to start putting it all into a historical context!  Maps become fascinating and begin to look like art!  History comes alive and is no longer boring.
It helps me to read and write historical fiction when researching.  I can remember all the facts if I’m interested in the story!  Otherwise it’s too dry.

8. The t.v. show, 'Who Do You Think You Are' shows celebrities tracing their genealogy. How long can it take to trace a family lineage?

People spend their entire lives researching their families.  We have people waltz in the library thinking they can find everything in a day with a few clicks on the computer.  That is not true!!  “Who do You think You Are” is a fascinating program, but fosters the myth that genealogy is easy.