Genealogical Society aids in family search

President of the Genealogical Society, Jay P Collins, urged members to make the discovery of "why we're here" at the Brick and Mortar Seminar in honor of Family History Month.

                  "The focus of this seminar and the Genealogical Society as a whole is to get people interested in exploring their family history," said Collins. "A lot of people just don't know where to even begin to look."

                  The seminar held Oct 1. Introduced members and interested guest to online resources and places where old family records and historic documents could be found such as libraries, court houses, and online databases. Florida A&M University's Coleman library was cited as a good source for African American history and praised for its micro media department.

                  Collins said he had no interested in learning about his family history originally until he found a folder of old family records and discovered documents that had been tampered with.

                  "I'm reading through the research and noticed the dates weren't lining up and names were spelled wrong," said Collins. "This disturbed me and I wanted to find out what happened and why. My interest became the science of the search."

                                    Collins' wife and vice president of programs, Robin Collins, started researching her own family history at the age of 8.

                  "I remember vague stories my parents would tell me," said Collins. "Although oral history is important, I wanted documentation and things that I could reference that would tell me who I am exactly and where I came from."

                                    Kentucky native and member Dawn Stephens became interested at the age of 14 when she learned of a family member whose history traced back to Virginia Indian Pocahontas.

                  "One of my great grandmothers down the line actually was a pioneer that discovered Pocahontas," said Stephens. "It's interesting to find out who you're related to and the impact they have made in history."

                  The 70 member Genealogical Society was chartered as a non-profit corporation in 1981. The society holds monthly meetings at Leon County Library, using available resources to help others track their family history and find lost loved ones.

                  "For a lot of us we wait until we are older and it's too late, family members have passed on and answers are limited," said Collins. "Preserve your family history while you still have time."