New genealogy club to utilize library resources

January 10, 2019

Want to research your family history but don’t know where to start? Well, there’s a club for that.

The Hruska Memorial Public Library is starting up a new genealogy group, which will have its first meeting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 28 in the library, 399 N. 5th St. in David City. Free coffee and cinnamon rolls will be provided for all those who attend.

The club is meant to help support and encourage people as they research their family trees. Library Executive Director Kay Schmid said the club is casual, informal, and meant for beginners and experts in genealogy, the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. She said the library has the researching resources and is hoping this group will take advantage of them. Similar groups have sprung up in the past, but this will be different, organizers noted.

“I think we’ve always done it (genealogy), it’s just that we’ve never had perhaps a more structured program. So this is a more structured program,” Schmid said, adding that the goal of the new club is “to promote genealogy research and promote the library as a source for that information.”

Catalog/Circulation Librarian Cheryl Hein will lead the club. She said it has been about seven years since the library has had a genealogy-related group. The previous club was centered around the library’s Boston Studio collection, a series of photos taken in David City between 1898 and 1970.

“We tried to get one together years ago through the Boston Studio, but it just didn’t work,” Hein said, noting the group back then only had three members and didn’t advertise too well.

The library’s heritage room is full of resources for all Butler County residents interested in researching their family history. The rooms have texts recounting the history of all towns in the county along with obituary and wedding databases, as well as a collection of high school yearbooks. Hein said people would be surprised to learn all kinds of things about their ancestors.

“A lot of times people find out that grandpa owned a business in town, and that’s exciting for them,” Hein said.

Recently, the library got a hold of a brand new microfilm reader. This machine allows people to scan through old newspapers to look up obituaries and other articles. Hein said she is hoping the new club will utilize it.

“There’s no sense leasing it if we don’t have people using it,” Hein said. “And mostly, people don’t use it to look up anything current. It’s mostly used for obituaries. So by getting this group together, then I can encourage them to use the microfilm machine.”

The library also recently acquired a Wolverine Film to Digital Converter, which can be used to digitize film negatives. Hein said from time to time, people will bring in old photos and the library will scan it, ever adding to their collection.

Hein said she’s hoping for the club to gain the interest of people.

“It would be awesome if we could even have five,” Hein said. “We want to make it fun. I don’t just want to stand up there and teach a class.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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