Unlocking the secrets of your family’s past

THEY are the skeletons in the closet that families speak of in whispers – if at all.

But in January those who attend Gill Rossini’s adult education classes will be armed with the skills to reveal all about the outcasts in their ancestry.

Her family history course –‘Finding Your Outcasts’ – is among many launching at Priestley College next month covering everything from creative stitching to ethics and digital photography.

“We will be looking at the ways you can find out more about the characters many families would prefer to forget,” said Gill.

“The archives we will look at include prison records, asylum archives and newspaper articles, and we also have to cover how we deal with what we find as it can be quite emotional.”

Gill, who has a Masters degree in History, said her class was aimed at family historians and those interested in exploring social history.

Through the stories of others it will reveal the changing attitudes towards single mums, homosexuality, mental health and adoption.

However, it will also give students the understanding of where to find out more about their own relatives – the ones who are never spoken about.

“Many of these ‘outcasts’ were considered morally bankrupt at the time and are only talked about in whispers,” said Gill.

“Your own research might start after a ‘chance remark’ by a relative, but what this course gives you is the knowledge about how to carry out your own investigations.”

Other adult courses offered by Priestley College include Digital Photography for Beginners, Creative Writing and Introduction to Bookkeeping.

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