Annual events helps families trace roots

A slew of Tallahassee residents spent their Saturday morning learning how to search for their family history.

The annual Family History Day at the Family History Center offered seminars, webinars and workshops on methods people can use to find and document their family members. The courses offered ranged from beginner to advanced.

Writer, lecturer and genealogist Lisa Alzo presented a webinar course, “Basic Online Resources for the Beginning Genealogist,” to provide tips and resources on finding family members and what steps to take when researching.

“If you don’t do anything else, cite your sources,” Alzo said. “Whether you’re getting information from your grandma or you were there to witness a birth, a credible source is viable to conducting proper genealogy research.”

Other workshops included “Finding Family & Ancestors Outside the USA w/ New Technologies,” “Sharing your Family History with Multimedia,” “Getting the most out of” and “Facebook is Family History: Engaging Youth.”

Juanita Gaston, a geography professor at Florida A&M, said this was her second time attending Family History Day.

“I believe they’ve been doing this for 15 years,” Gaston said. “When it first started, it used to be every other year. Now that’s it’s gained more popularity, it’s every year.”

Nearly 200 people attended Family History Day. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints volunteered at the event, offering assistance and handing out pamphlets on the workshops. A few volunteers from the Tallahassee Genealogical Society helped out with the presentation of the workshops.

Lane Wright, the public relations director for the family center, was pleased with the turnout and found Family History Day to be of benefit to his own family.

“My wife is taking the ‘Finding Family & Ancestors Outside the USA w/ New Technologies’ course,” Wright said. “She’s Haitian, and she wants to expand her search on her unknown relative.”