Carolyn Tolman comes from “one of those” families whose pedigree goes way back, thanks to diligent great-grandmothers who were passionate genealogists. She grew up hearing stories of her ancestors’ immigrations from Northern Europe and settlement in the untamed Wild West. She has always felt connected to them on many levels, and interested in the lives they led. All it took was an “Intro to Family History” class at Brigham Young University to convince her that genealogy was her life’s work. She graduated with a degree in Family and Community History Studies, and has gained 25 years of valuable experience researching for clients as well as her own family and friends. She is knowledgeable in both European and United States research, and has recently been involved in breaking through brick walls with DNA testing.
In addition to genealogy, Carolyn has a great love for music and its ability to inspire and uplift everyone it touches. Following in the footsteps of her parents and ancestors, she loves to sing, and was recently accepted into the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is a very joyful part-time (unpaid) job! Her first priority however, is her husband and five teenage children. When all is said and done, family matters most, and she appreciates Legacy Tree Genealogists’ focus on family – both in the present and the past.
One of Carolyn’s most meaningful genealogy experiences has been her involvement in The Carlisle Indian School Project. Although her husband’s full-time employment with the Utah National Guard has kept her family in Utah for the duration of his career, there was one exception when he attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania from 2010-2011. Carolyn and the kids accompanied him and they were placed in an old farmhouse on the military post of Carlisle Barracks. Naturally curious about the history of the house, she asked around and was told that not only was it not historic, but it was slated for demolition the following year. With the urging of the local historical society, Carolyn agreed to research the house’s “genealogy” and ended up documenting its strong connection to the Carlisle Indian School, which operated on the post from 1879-1918. Word spread to the Native American descendants of the Indian School students, who protested just in time to stop the destruction, and the farmhouse is now being placed on the National Historic Register. Tribes across the country are pledging their support to turn it into a Heritage Center commemorating the Indian boarding school experience. Carolyn is deeply grateful to have played a part in this important project!
Carolyn writes regularly for Legacy Tree’s blog. One of her great posts talks about how to deal with names in genealogy, especially when you’ve got a tough brick wall: https://www.legacytree.com/blog/whats-name-4-tips-finding-elusive-ancestor.