“There’s nothing that gets you barreling down a new path faster than a big, hairy, audacious New Year’s resolution!” What began as Karen Batchelor’s resolution in 1976 to celebrate the United States bicentennial has become a lifelong passion, maybe even an obsession for genealogy.
Ever curious descendant and and sometimes, unexpected skeleton in a family closet, Karen’s family research has uncovered a heritage that includes Puritans and patriots, slaves and slaveowners, ancestors from Germany, England and Scotland and even an early American witch – or two!
In her work life, Karen has practiced law and been in government relations. Now she is a certified professional life coach helping clients make more room in life for what they are passionate about. And in most of her spare time, you can find Karen hot on the trail of an interesting ancestor – long gone, but not forgotten if she has anything to do with it.
In the beginning, Karen’s genealogy goals were simple – find all of her great grandparents and share that family history with her then young son. But Karen’s simple genealogy research project took a surprising turn that led to her becoming the first acknowledged African American member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in October, 1977.
Since then, Karen has celebrated the discovery of each new ancestor on her family tree, regardless of their race and background. Here on Extreme Ancestry, she shares names, dates, places – and oh so much more about the strong men – and women from generations past, whose survival through the “good, bad and ugly” of life makes it possible for her to be here writing this blog.
Like all genealogists, Karen sometimes gets stuck on a challenging family research problem. On those days, she draws strength from this anonymous:
Life is lived forward, but understood backwards.
Over the years, Karen has been featured on Good Morning America, in the New York Times, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, Redbook Magazine, Jet Magazine and many other publications around the country. She does keynote presentations on genealogy and African American family history. Karen is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the New England Genealogical and Historical Society and co-founder of the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
She is the mother of an adult son affectionately known as “IT Guy” and she’s awaiting the birth of her first grandchild in 2013.
For more on Karen’s evolution as a genealogist, you’ll enjoy these posts:
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“Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future, do not perform their duty to the world.” ~ Daniel Webster