For almost forty years, I’ve been chasing my ancestors around America. They’ve led me on a merry chase through hundreds of years of history. And maybe because I’m a history geek at heart, it’s never been enough for me to just find the names and dates of those who came before me. I knew there was more to the family history than researching through documents, books and an occasional visit to a graveyard.

No – I want to know more about how they lived, why they lived where they did and more about their lives and the times they lived in.

I expect that’s the best explanation I can give you as to why I’ve added living history as a complement to my passion for genealogy. “Living history” is a term often used by museums and historical venues to describe people who portray the persona or lifestyle of someone in past times.


To me, living history is not just an opportunity to dress up in period clothing but a way to bring history forward into the present so others can experience it in a unique way that helps them better understand the past.


Like these folks below from Wm. Booth, Draper – a provider of goods and gear for those who reenact colonial times. Imagine! They’ve created an entire business around living history.




Batchelor, Karen

  • Bio

    In the beginning, Karen’s genealogy goals were simple – learn all she could about her great and great -great grandparents and then share that family history with her son. After all, it was his birth that made her realize that most of what she knew of her family history was from stories told occasionally at the dinner table.

    What started as a simple genealogy project took a surprising turn that led to Karen becoming the first acknowledged African American member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in October, 1977.  


    Since then, Karen has celebrated the discovery of each new ancestor on her family tree, regardless of their race and background. Here on Extreme Ancestry, she shares names, dates, places – and oh so much more about the strong men and women from generations past, whose survival through the “good, bad and ugly” made it possible for her to be here writing this blog.


    Like all genealogists, Karen sometimes gets stuck at a brick wall.  In her work life, Karen has practiced law and been in government relations. Now she is a certified professional coach helping clients make room in life for what they are passionate about and that often includes a deeper look at family history.Over the years, Karen has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, on Good Morning America, in the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, Redbook Magazine, Jet Magazine and many other publications around the country and abroad. In July, 2013, she was featured as the final question on the popular television game show, Jeopardy.Karen is well known for sharing her love of genealogy with others through keynote presentations. And she’s excited to be putting the finishing touches on her online course to help family history newbies get started with confidence. It will debut in early 2014. In the meantime, if you’re looking for Karen – she’s probably hot on the trail of an ancestor, long dead but not forgotten if she has anything to do with it.Constantly inspired by her family, past and present, Karen is the proud mother of her now adult son and grandmother to her first grandchild who was born in 2013.

  • Oral History Summary



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