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Thursdays at the U speaker to discuss ancestry research

| Linda Tollefsrud

Genealogy is about more than just building a family tree. It is a way to hold a mirror up to ourselves and distinguish between who we are and who we think we are.

Andy Gaertner

Andy Gaertner

Andy Gaertner will present “Who am I? Researching Ancestry” for the May 2 Thursdays at the U lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire – Barron County. The presentation will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall in Ritzinger Hall and will be livestreamed at

By learning the stories of our ancestors, we can get a picture of what their lives were like. We also can see how our family stories intersect with the major events of history.

Gaertner has been researching his family since 2005 and has been helping other people with their family trees for the last six years. His talk will focus on the tips and techniques he uses, with a focus on how to work with DNA matches.

Gaertner is a Montessori teacher at the rural campus of Lake Country School near Connorsville, where he manages a four-acre organic farm for the school and guides residential experiences for seventh and eighth graders. He also is a Morris dancer with General Hardware Border Morris, a folk-dance team based in Menomonie.

In addition, Gaertner leads trips to Honduras every January to visit the farmers who send coffee to Farmer to Farmer, a nonprofit in western Wisconsin that sends scholarships to young people in Guatemala and Honduras.

The Thursdays at the U weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. Neither seating reservations nor parking permits are needed for in-person attendees.

Although in-person attendance is encouraged, most talks in the series are livestreamed. They also are archived and can be watched later on the Thursdays at the U webpage.

The final lecture in the spring series will be May 9, with Jessica Michna presenting “Mary Todd Lincoln: A Widow Forgotten.”

For more information, call the campus at 715-788-6244 or email Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, the series organizer, at