Trevetta Wunderlin, our chair, welcomed us to the 6 May 2011 meeting of the Genealogy Interest Group – Ancestor Trackers and said that minutes are posted at www.ollilifeusf.org Trev told us about the next meetings of the Florida Genealogical Society and its Fall Seminar.

Debra S. Fleming, OLLI Genealogy Instructor, was our speaker and her program was “Your Medical Heritage: How Genealogy Can Save Your Life.” She told us that years ago her father was required to trace his genealogy for a college course and that she decided to confirm his facts. Debra was also concerned about her husband’s health and his family history of strokes. The number one cause of death is heart disease, followed by cancer and strokes. She advised us not to shrink from investigating a history of mental illness; depression can run in families. We should pay attention to several factors when noting information about a family member such as sex, date of birth, age when diagnosed and cause of death. Debra mentioned that Mormons, because of their healthy habits, tend to live 10 years longer than the rest of us. She also discussed how to interview relatives and family members when asking them to provide information about their health histories. Most importantly you must respect their privacy. Debra showed us examples of information gleaned from death certificates, newspaper articles, obituaries and military records and urged us to share our findings with family members. She recommended databases such as www.google.com/health where you can store and access your own information at any time and “My Family Health Portrait” from Health and Human Services at https://familyhistory.hhs.gov and others published by the Mayo Clinic and Rutgers University’s “Drawing a Family Tree.”

Respectfully submitted,

Rosalyn Davenport Gibbs

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