, Muskogee, OK

March 18, 2014

Get kick start on genealogy

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Oklahoma author and genealogist Carolyn B. Leonard expects people to get busy at her Genealogy Boot Camp.

“We’re going to work,” Leonard said. “Instead of just me talking, I’m bringing forms to help people get started on their genealogy.”

The free boot camp will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at Muskogee Public Library.

Leonard will present the boot camp as part of the library’s Third Thursday Book Club, said library assistant Jeremy Jones. However, this week’s program has been expanded and opened to the public with the workshop, Jones said.

Leonard’s interest in genealogy has its roots in the Harper County farm where she grew up.

“When I was a very young mother, my dad became ill and I got him a tape recorder for him to share family history,” she said. “By the time I started writing down everything he told me, I was hooked.”

Her interest blossomed, and she became a member of the International Society of Family History Writers & Editors. She also edited the Oklahoma Genealogical Society newsletter and serves as publicity director of the Edmond Genealogical Society.

Club memberships reflect her genealogical roots: Honorary Colonel of Kentucky, Oklahoma Prairies Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 25-year member of Mayflower Descendants Society. She also is coordinator of the biannual National Low Dutch Cousins Gathering in Kentucky.

Leonard also has been a newspaper editor and writer in far northwest Oklahoma. She remains a commission writer for “Persimmon Hill,” the magazine for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. She has written several historical novels and nonfiction manuscripts.

Her latest book, “Who’s Your Daddy,” shows people how to research their heritage.

“It started with a bunch of notes on how to find information,” Leonard said. “Then, my publisher called and said, ‘When are you going to give me a manuscript?’”

Leonard said she had a bunch of notes about genealogy and could write about that.

“He said, ‘I’d like to have it,’” she said.

She said she hopes to get people as excited about their family roots as she has been.

“When you go to the sites where your ancestors lived and the battle sites, that’s exciting,” Leonard said. “I hope people would be as excited about genealogy and studying their family heritage and know what they went through.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: Genealogy Boot Camp.

WHEN: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

WHERE: Muskogee Public Library, 801 W. Okmulgee Ave.