In just over four years as a librarian for adult services and programs at the North Ridgeville Branch of the Lorain Public Library System, Scot Allyn has noticed more people seeking information about their roots.
And what better place to look up that information online? Valuable information and documents that have been digitized in the last decade are available to library cardholders for free.
Allyn is hosting a one-hour program at 6:30 p.m. July 24 called "Roots and Branches: An Introduction to Genealogy” in the library’s computer room.
"This program is for the absolute beginner," said Allyn, who admits he has not done extensive genealogy research himself. "We welcome those with no experience, but a lot of enthusiasm. The system is real easy to use.”
Part of Allyn’s program allows library patrons to use the computers to search for information or documents they might find otherwise.
Cardholders get free access to the library’s ancestry.com membership, including Fold3, an electronic database of military records.
Cheri Campbell, another adult services librarian for the Lorain Public Library System, also has noticed an increase in genealogy research at the library.
“It’s becoming very popular for people of all ages,” Campbell said. “People see the commercials on TV for the DNA testing to see what your ethnic background is, or who you could be related to, and they want to try it. As baby boomers age, people basically want to know where they come from.”
The library system’s main branch, 351 Sixth St. in Lorain, has a Genealogy Club that meets from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month and recently started an evening Genealogy Club that meets from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.
“We’ve had a very enthusiastic reception,” Campbell said.
Those interested in attending the event at the North Ridgeville library, 35700 Bainbridge Road,
must register in advance by calling 440-327-8326 or going to the events page at lorainpubliclibrary.org. Attendees can learn how to locate an ancestor's vital details from documents available at ancestry.com or sources such as FamilySearch and HeritageQuest.
"When people reach a certain point in their life, they sometimes want to satisfy their curiosity about parents or grandparents," Allyn said. "They might be retired and have the time to do the research, but sometimes by that time, nobody's around to answer questions.”
He recounted an instance when a woman came in seeking information about her father, who served in World War II. She was so happy with the information she found online about his military service.
“It was information she didn't previously have because her father never talked about his service,” Allyn said. “If a family member served in the military, there’s a lot online to pinpoint valuable information.”
Allyn said more introductory genealogy programs might be scheduled if there is enough interest.
Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-871-5797.