VGA 2022 Conference: “Ethnicity and Identity” by Penny Walters

This presentation will be on Saturday, November 12th at 11:30am Eastern. Click here to view the full conference schedule:

Program Description:
‘Where are you from?’ is sometimes a difficult question to answer. With the advent of DNA testing, we can find out our ethnicity, and look at the implications of where our ancestors were from. This session will look at the differences between the terms ‘heritage’, ‘ancestry’, ‘ethnicity,’ and ‘descent.’ What happens when you don’t feel like you ‘come from’ where you live at present, and that your ancestors were forced to leave their home? Diaspora includes dispersion because of famine, enslavement, war, persecution. Irish heritage diaspora has been put as high as 70 million. Is there a ‘romantic’ notion to being Diaspora? What percentage feels like you ‘have’ an ethnicity? Many people take a DNA test to find out about their ethnicities, and for some it is to prove that their family stories or paper trail were correct. However, unexpected or even upsetting ethnicity results can be revealed. How does finding an enslaved ancestor affect descendants, or even an ancestor who was a slave trader or owned a plantation? What is the role of inherited trauma, or racial healing being needed? What are the ethical dilemmas surrounding ethnicity and identity?

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Penny Walters has been a University lecturer for 30 years. Penny’s interest in genealogy started after having her first child and then wondering about her biological parents, as she was adopted. Penny has 6 mixed race children, who have all enjoyed discovering their roots through DNA ethnicity results. Penny lectures internationally in-person, writes articles, and is sought after for a wide range of webinar topics. Penny has authored the books: ‘Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy,’ and ‘The Psychology of Searching’ available on Amazon in paperback or on kindle

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