By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
With the family history and genealogy hobby that has swept the nation, it’s no surprise that there was a great turnout at a community Family History Fair held in Logandale last weekend. The fair was organized and hosted by the LDS Logandale Stake and held at the LDS Stake Center on St. Joseph Street.
The building is equipped with a dedicated family history center complete with all the tools necessary to help people do their own family history. The center is open during most weekdays. But the Fair held a variety of classes that utilized the whole building, giving attendees the opportunity to choose topics of greatest interest to them.
Logandale Stake Family History Specialist Marvin Leavitt helped organize the event. “When planning one of these, we really try to pick a variety of subjects that will help people of all skill and experience levels,” Leavitt explained. “We have classes that are focused on helping the very beginners who are struggling both with computer and research skills, to those who have exhausted normal sources of information and need help looking at alternative sources like censuses and such.”
This year’s fair included a variety of expert guest instructors from out of the area. Pam Whitmire, an assistant family history director in Vernal, UT, taught classes on descendancy, Family Search, and Ancestry.com. Loretta Evans, a professional genealogist from Idaho, taught classes on utilizing censuses, finding the names of female ancestors, and pedigree analysis. Evans’ husband, Bob, taught classes on getting started with family history and a hands-on guide to indexing.Leavitt himself taught a classes on using Photoshop to restore pictures. and Mahlon Edwards taught a class on writing personal histories.
Most of the classes were taught multiple times, giving attendees a chance to choose the ones that they most wanted to attend.
Attendance for the fair was great and most classrooms were filled to capacity for each rotation. “I walked around during the classes to check on each room and all of the classes were well-attended,” Leavitt said. “Sometimes you worry that classes will be unbalanced with a lot of people in some classes and no one in others, but that didn’t happen so it was really good.”
Specialist Jacque Bush had her computer out and gave people struggling with account problems one-on-one help getting things ironed out so their accounts could become usable. She helped with registration problems, forgotten passwords, forgotten user-names, and so forth.
Others attended for different reasons. TC Carson said, “We are trying to get information about my husband’s side of the family so we came today to get some help on how to get started.”
Lisa Call went to the beginning class and said, “The class was very basic and great for complete beginners. Even though I already knew some of the information, it gave me a great place to start and see where I need to go from here.”
The fair was not just for adults. Trevor Witter, 11, attended a class with his family on census records. “I learned what a census is and how you can find people that are hard to find,” he said.
Connie Robertson and her husband, Lance, also attended. “My mother does a lot of family history work and we came to learn what we can do to help her. It inspired us to go home and delve into our ancestors.”
Stake Presidency member Mendis Cooper explained why the church sponsors activities like this. “Family History Fairs like this are great for our entire community because everyone has an interest in their heritage,” he said. “We really appreciate all the time and effort that went into putting this on and we hope anyone that is interested will come up to the Family History Center and use it whenever they can to do their own research.”