Leslie began discovering her genealogy at the age of eight years old. She was fortunate in that her family owned an apartment building in Chicago which had housed 4 generations of her family. She would sit quietly in the corner as her great grandmothers siblings visited and told lively stories from the past and quickly discovered that if she asked questions and called attention to herself – the subject would quickly be changed! She would later return to her parents' apartment and record these stories which contained many mysteries, a singularly tragic divorce, a wild west adventure and many pre-Revolutionary family lines living in the colonies – as well as brushes with historical figures, including royalty... This store of information helped her to break through many brick walls.
Leslie Drewitz, PLCGS is a graduate of the National Institute of Genealogical Studies, with a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies - Librarianship, and is currently working towards her American Records certificate. She greatly admires the curriculum, which is excellently overseen by the director, Louise St. Denis.
For the last 8 ½ years, Leslie has been employed as a Genealogical Librarian in the Local History Room of a suburban Chicago public library. She is the local history clerk for all documents and artifacts. She also oversees the library's Genealogy Club and works individually on a daily basis with patrons and non-patrons of all skill levels who hope to discover their genealogy. Leslie does special program lectures on all aspects genealogy as well.
She works closely with the local Historical Society on many projects with an emphasis on cataloging and preservation. She is also a member of the DuPage County Genealogical Society and never misses their phenomenal yearly conferences. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society. Lately, Leslie also feels privileged to be a columnist for The In-Depth Genealogist. When she has time, she also does individual private genealogy contract work.
Leslie lives in a suburb of Chicago with her husband, Michael; her four children, Ellissa, Trevor, Jon and Katie; and their wonder dog, Harley. Her hobbies include reading, genealogy, gardening, genealogy, history, genealogy and more genealogy.
Go In-Depth with Leslie:
What is one tip you would give a newbie genealogist?
Cite your sources from the beginning – if you don't, your work will not be complete and you will eventually have to go back through all of your work and do it anyway – so do it now!
What is the most creative way you have shared your ancestor stories?
I like to share stories in lectures – especially with kids – about unusual genealogy finds, because they inspire. With children, I like to somewhat act out the story and make it very descriptive to capture their attention. I recently read an article that stated that children who discover their genealogy are more confident and do better in school... No surprise there!
What are your feelings about adding non-blood related lines into your research? (ie...adoptive, step families, etc...)
I am passionate about including everyone in genealogy. For this reason, I always include family tree charts for adopted, as well as step-families when I do genealogy lectures and instruction for kids – I also promote and make these charts available at our information table at the library's Genealogy Club.
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Leslie Drewitz’s Reprint Policy:
You have permission to reprint articles that have been written by Leslie Drewitz appearing in The In-Depth Genealogist, except any articles published in Going In-Depth, when meeting the following requirements:
- The article must be reprinted in full with no changes.
- You must include the following bio with links for each article reprinted.
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© 2013 Leslie Drewitz
Leslie (Gignac) Drewitz (PLCGS) holds a certification in Genealogical Librarianship from the University of Toronto/St Michaels and currently works for a suburban Chicago public library where she oversees the Local History collection; as well as their Genealogy Club, where she teaches and lectures. Leslie lives with her husband Michael; her four children, Ellissa, Trevor, Jon and Katie; and their wonder dog, Harley. You can contact Leslie by email, LDrewitz101@gmail.com