CUTPL conducts live genealogy research sessions for all community members

Phyllis Cox diligently searches for hints regarding her family tree.
By: 
Shelby Harrell
EDITOR

On a rainy Wednesday morning, Local History and Geneaology Librarian Janet Winrotte joins Culver resident Phyllis Cox in the computer room of the Culver-Union Township Public Library to take part in the organization’s Genealogy LIVE! Program.

Genealogy LIVE! Is to provide information resources to residents who are interested in researching, completing their family tree, or are simply looking to find out more about their ancestors. “Anyone who is interested in genealogy is welcome to attend,” encourages Winrotte, “we meet on Wednesday mornings from 1 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the computer lab here at the Library.” According to Winrotte, one of the perks of conducting research with this program is their offer of half-price printing. “As people search and research their genealogy online,” Winrotte says, “they can print off records and documents for 10 cents per black and white page instead of 20 cents.”

The program offers a wide variety of genealogical databases including ancestry.com, fold3.com, and myheritage.com free of charge. Outside of the program, however, each of these websites requires paid subscription in order for individuals to have access to their information.

Winrotte, who recently attended a conference held at the Allentown Public Library, reports that DVA is undeniably the most popular topics of Geneaology. “We have several people here who have done that,” said Winrotte, “we have individuals who come in for testing.” Additional supplemental resources include up-to-date print books on DNA and copies of geneaological publication Family Tree magazine as well as a pedigree table. “Those are the beginning tools that we use,” Winrotte explains, “and then you base all of your research on that.”

Oftentimes, individuals with ancestors who belonged to certain ethnic minority groups will experience more difficulty in their research. Members of the African American population, for example, might fail obtain results if their ancestors entered the country through trade as an unnamed slave. “You can go back two, three, maybe four generations where you have first and last names,” Winrotte explained, “If any of their relatives came from Africa, came through the Carolinas or the Virginia area and became slaves, they did not have a last name in many cases.”

Aside from research, Genealogy LIVE! Is also known for it’s social atmosphere that facilitates a sense of camaraderie and discovery. “It’s nice because our computer are set up in a circle,” Winrotte said, “On a normal Genealogy LIVE! day all the computers are usually filled and everybody is researching something different about their family and they get to share the little successes that they have with each other.” In some cases, participants have even been known to print off pictures of recently discovered relatives and show them around the room. “They are sharing different ways to search, and definitely sharing their successes with each other,” Winrotte says with pride.

Read more about Culver in this week's edition of The Culver Citizen.