You probably don’t have a famous ancestor, but you do have someone who has struggled, someone who has felt joy and love, writes Paul MacDonell. (Jesse Orrico / Unsplash)

Your family history is more fascinating than you might think, says Cloverdale librarian

Upcoming family history programming will help you connect with your ancestors

By Paul MacDonell

If you’ve seen the Ancestry ads on TV, you might conclude that family history researchers are motivated to try out recipes from their land of origin, or find out they’re related to someone famous.

Don’t get me wrong, many of the ads are fun, and naturally enough they want to sell their product. (It is a great resource, which is why we have Ancestry Library Edition free to use here at the Cloverdale Library.)

But there is so much more that is possible.

You probably don’t have a famous ancestor, but you do have someone who has struggled, someone who has felt joy and love. And many of them (maybe most of them, maybe all of them) have led a fascinating life simply because they have lived, and they have gone through the same fundamental things that you have. Technology changes but human motivation does not change.

So come and visit us. Find out the bare bones of dates and places. But then fill all of that in with life. The life of those who have come before you.

Our programs this fall:

Fun Family History Fridays

A free, drop-in conversation session for any and all who are interested in family history and want to meet other family historians. Fridays, Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2, Dec 7. 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Rock and a Hard Place

In 1922, Simon McGeown murdered a seven-year-old girl. He was hanged in Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Our presenter, Ann Buchanan, is a descendant of his. Rather than examine the crime itself, Ann will discuss researching the time and place surrounding the crime. She will be using family history tools to build the character of an ancestor. Her aim is to try and answer why a person would commit such a crime. This presentation includes researching his military career. It covers the extreme unrest during the First Troubles, the Irish War of Independence that led to the creation of Northern Ireland. Saturday, Sept. 15, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Dig into Family History with Jamie Brown

Getting started or re-started on your family tree? Come and learn about the variety of family history records available such as birth, marriage, death, census, and passenger list records. Saturday, Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Start Searching Your Family History

This beginner’s series includes five 3-hour classes, developed by writer and researcher Brenda L. Smith, addressing each beginning family history researcher’s need for guidance in embarking on a very personal journey. Working with their own materials, and supporting each other, learners will discover their particular motives and set goals for their research, organize and evaluate their data, and plan the first stage of their individual programs. Participants must be able to commit to attendance at all five sessions. Tuesday Evenings Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and 23, Nov. 6 and 30 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Cost: $100 for the series.

Prison and Court Records with Andrea Lister

Prison and court records can tell you a lot about your ancestors and their lives. Whether they document legal battles or criminal activity, these records will provide a wide variety of colour and detail. Andrea will look at records on everything from petty theft to illegal poaching to declaring someone’s husband dead. Tuesday, Oct. 2, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Why Write Your Family History? with Brenda L. Smith

It is never too soon to start writing your family story, but it can be too late. Learn to prepare to ask well-researched questions of your elderly relatives. Consider how to be ready when you have the opportunity to travel. Explore why you should give yourself time to reflect on your personal experiences. Saturday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Ancestry Library Edition Workshop with Jamie Brown and Carmen Merrells

Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) is free to use at Cloverdale Library. Learn to use it to help improve your research skills and become a better family historian. Bring your own device for a hands-on session. Wednesday, Nov. 7, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

10th Annual Family History Show & Tell

We continue the tradition by inviting people who document their family history to bring in their creations – there have been family quilts, a digitized Super 8 film featuring a B.C. lumberjack ancestor, artfully done scrapbooks, storyboards, diaries, a very special chamber pot, digital collages and much more. Visitors without stories are welcome to watch and listen. Participants limited to a maximum of ten minutes talk time. Saturday, Nov. 17, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Guildford Library.

Genealogy Collection Orientations with Cloverdale Library Staff

The Cloverdale Branch of Surrey Public Library has one of the most extensive collections of Canadian genealogical materials in Western Canada. To help you become familiar with the collection, the Cloverdale library offers orientations on the first Saturday of every month, from 10 – 10:50 a.m.

Visit surreylibraries.ca/events and limit your search to Family History to find out more about upcoming family history programming. To register, please call the Cloverdale Library at 604-598-7327, drop in, or email familyhistory@surrey.ca. Unless otherwise noted, all of our programs are free and hosted at the Cloverdale Library, located at 5642 176A Street.

Paul MacDonell, Information Services Librarian for Cloverdale Library



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

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Andrea Lister. (Submitted)

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