Secrets in the Tree: Going Beyond Genealogy to Write Your Family Story | Newberry

Secrets in the Tree: Going Beyond Genealogy to Write Your Family Story

Led by Matthew Nickerson. Four sessions. 1 - 3 pm.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Saturdays, November 7 - December 5 (Class will not meet on November 28.)


Full. Email to be added to the wait list.

As a precaution to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars Program’s Fall 2020 term will continue to be held virtually. Virtual seminars meet via Zoom video conference and use email and Google Drive folders to share resources and communicate with instructors and participants. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars and these tools, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please feel free to reach out to

For more information about the Newberry’s response to COVID-19 please visit

Seminar Description

Family stories are the building blocks of history—so let’s start building! Participants in this seminar will learn to use interviews, archives, newspapers, history books, and images to discover their ancestors’ secrets. By the end of this writing workshop, participants will have written an essay memorializing a piece of their family’s past. (Please note: while there are no prerequisites for this seminar, participants are encouraged to have some familiarity with their family history.)

Four sessions. Registration – $195

Matthew Nickerson owns Private Historian, a Chicago firm that writes family histories on commission. He holds a BA in American history and an MA in European history. He was a reporter and editor for the Chicago Sun–Times and Chicago Tribune.

Materials List


  • There are no required materials for this seminar.

First Reading:

  • There is no reading assignment for the first session of this seminar.

Registration Information

Online registration opens at 9 am (CDT) on Tuesday, September 1st.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars staff is working remotely and will be unable to process registration over the phone. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar has reached capacity. Please email to be added to the wait list.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.