By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Are you stumped about where to go next with your family history? Are you not even sure where to start? Are you confused by records from other countries? All these issues and more will be answered at this year’s Family History Fair.
This non-denominational event will be held at the Logandale LDS Stake Center on St. Joseph Street, from 9 am to noon on Saturday, March 10. Numerous guest speakers will present various classes aimed at everyone from beginners to those who feel they have done it all.
The list of guest lecturers and teachers this year is impressive. Attendance at the entire event is not necessary and those who can only drop in for a class or two are welcome.
Event organizer Marvin Leavitt emphasized that the event is aimed at everyone.
“People who are afraid of family history because they don’t know where to start should come because we have stuff for them,” Leavitt said. “People who are intimidated by records overseas should come because we have stuff for them. And if you think all your family history has been done already then think again because we have stuff for you, too.”
Guest instructor Loretta Evans from Idaho Falls, Idaho will be teaching three classes including “Getting the Most from Census Records” “So It’s All Been Done” and “Vital Records Online.
For those who are at the point where they are trying to trace ancestors from overseas, professional genealogist Margo McKinstry from St. George will be presenting classes on records from Great Britain.
Guest presenters Derek and Claudia Richard from the Salt Lake area will be teaching some classes that should be of interest to those who love recording history through pictures. The first hour they will be teaching a class on how to avoid duplication, and then due to its popularity, they will be teaching their class on preserving memories both the second and the third hour. This class covers how to upload pictures, stories, and documents to online database, Family Search, so they can be preserved for generations to come.
Leavitt explained why this class was chosen. “These days we have people taking more pictures than ever before, but often they don’t even make it off of cell phones,” he said. “Those pictures need to be preserved and put on Family Search where they will be safe and accessible to those in the future.”
James Orman will be teaching three classes as well. Orman was born in England and his huge amount of experience doing genealogical work on both sides of the ocean will be an asset to those wishing to branch out in this area. His first class will be “Introduction to Google Research,” followed by “Crossing the Pond.” His final class will be “Partner Sites and How to Use Them,” which covers how to use websites like Ancestry.com, Find My Past, and My Heritage.
The last guest teacher is Robert Evans, is also from Idaho Falls. He will be teaching a very basic beginning class for those who are just starting. The class covers computer basics, the basics of finding names, and an introduction to the Family Search computer program. During the second and third hour he will be teaching web indexing, a popular way anyone can help with the family history effort.
There will also be someone onsite providing one-on-one help for those who are having trouble logging on to the Family Search program. They can help with usernames and passwords to get people up and going again.
Even youth are encouraged to attend. “We encourage anyone in the valley who is interested in Family History to come, including youth, because they are the ones who know how to use computers,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt is looking forward to the event and the opportunities it brings to local people. He encourages everyone who plans to come to download the free app for phones called “Family Tree” for an activity he has planned. This app, when opened, links with other phones in the room and can tell you if and how you are related to each person. Leavitt recently attended a training where they did this and found he was related to 45 people in that room that he wasn’t aware of.
“There really will be something there for everyone as well as people that can answer specific questions and help the whole family history process become less intimidating and more rewarding,” Leavitt said. “Plus, some of the classes will just be a lot of fun.”