Hiding Out in the Open: Discovering LGBT Family History

By understanding the basics of “gay history” as well as how LGBT folk lived, worked and socialized, you’ll not only locate these relatives, but realize the importance of preserving their stories

Summary Details

Length: 60 minutes

Summary: You may have heard family stories about an relative who was “different” or perhaps you’ve discovered someone who simply “disappeared.” Have you considered the possibility that you could have a gay or lesbian relative in your family tree? LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered) people can be found when researching genealogy, but the search syntax, keywords and strategies are very different. By understanding the basics of “gay history” as well as how LGBT folk lived, worked and socialized, you’ll not only locate these relatives, but realize the importance of preserving their stories.

Audience Level: Beginner.

Content: 4 pages.

Outline

  • LGBT Relatives: Why Their Stories Are Important
  • Understanding Gay History
  • “Code” and Subcultures: Learning a New Vocabulary
  • Know Your Gayborhoods
  • Queer Work: Occupations Offer Clues
  • Looking for Clues in Mementos and Items Left Behind
  • Using the FAN Club Research Strategy
  • Case Studies: LGBT Research and Records
  • Resource List

Questions Answered During Lecture

  • Why is it important to locate LGBT relatives and preserve their stories, especially if they didn’t have children?
  • Are there records used for genealogy research offering direct evidence as to a person’s sexual orientation or gender? Or do I need to look for clues and indirect evidence?
  • Why did LGBT folk tend to live in specific cities such as New York and San Francisco or work in specific types of occupations?
  • How do I resolve my own personal opinions towards homosexuality or my church’s teachings with the discovery of a possibly LGBT ancestor?
  • What are the best record sets to use in order to find out how a LGBT ancestor lived?

©2020, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.